What is Black History Month?

23 October 2020

Black History Month is celebrated every year in the UK and other countries around the world. We celebrate it in October, and many people use this month to focus on the stories, perspectives, and achievements of black people.

Black History Month originated in the 1920s as a week-long celebration in the US created by educator and historian Carter G. Woodson. It was initially created to recognise how people of African and Caribbean backgrounds have contributed to society. Woodson was the second African American to graduate from Harvard with a doctorate, and he dedicated his life to African American history, striving to make Black History Month a nationwide celebration.

Woodson finally achieved his goal, with other countries following suit and establishing Black History Month as a yearly occurrence. It has taken place in the UK for over 30 years, with the celebration now including the history of all black people, not just those of African and Caribbean descent.

What month is Black History Month?

Black History Month takes place at different times of the year in different countries. The US and Canada celebrate it in February whilst Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK observe it in October.

Why is Black History Month important?

Black History Month in the UK was first launched in London in the 1980s. The aim was to celebrate and remember black people who have helped shape the UK – those who may have been forgotten. British culture is vibrant and diverse and has been enriched by different cultures travelling here to build new lives.

Black History Month also aims to foster an understanding of Black history in general, and seeks to address the parts of history in Britain some would rather forget – the slavery, inequality and segregation which still have lasting effects today.

It is important for Black History Month to not only celebrate the uplifting aspects, but to also address the trauma of the past. It should outline the relationship between the UK and black people throughout history. This history is one full of oppression and discrimination, from the transatlantic slave trade to colonisation and the British Empire to the continued racism towards black people in the UK today. It’s also a history of survival, community, resilience, creativity and incredible culture. It is important to use Black History Month to remember that the fight is far from over and to honour the legacy of what black people have contributed to the UK.

What does Black Lives Matter mean?

Black History Month is also important as it helps continue a conversation around racism and the disturbing history and presence of it within the UK.

2020 was a huge year for the Black Lives Matter movement. The death of George Floyd in the US sparked protests across the world about the injustices faced by black people. But Black Lives Matter started in 2013, when a young boy, Trayvon Martin, was killed in a random attack by a white man who was charged, but then acquitted.

The Black Lives Matter movement are

“working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.”

Black Lives Matter has gone from being a phrase of support to a campaigning organisation that pushes for equality and anti-racism. It aims to end white supremacy and the fight for freedom. BLM advocates for true equality in a world where there is no discrimination or bias towards black people of any gender or background.

Diversity in the ACF

The Army Cadets is a diverse and inclusive organisation; however, we always strive to be better. We have a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion Officer who ensures that the ACF is a respectful, welcoming and inclusive environment for both our cadets and adult volunteers.

We believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to be the best of themselves. By having a clear focus on diversity and inclusion, we can make sure that these opportunities are provided to everyone, irrespective of their background. We want to make it known that the ACF is a welcoming, diverse and respectful organisation in the hope to attract new members.

With the appointment of Regional Diversity and Inclusion Advisors happening soon, we are making sure that diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of what we do. We will always endeavour to be one of the most inclusive voluntary youth organisations in the UK.

If you’re interested in joining a respectful, inclusive organisation, the ACF is a brilliant choice. We provide opportunities for all our members to learn new skills, become more employable and, most importantly, have fun! If you’d like to better yourself, meet new people and have an adventure, find your nearest detachment and get in touch.