Black History Month – an international annual month, celebrating, recognising and valuing the inspirational individuals and events from within the Black community. During Black History Month, we remember and celebrate the important people from the past and also who contribute to and help our society today. First celebrated in the UK in 1987, Black History Month in the UK is marked annually during the month of October and in the USA and Canada during the month of February, with important reference to the black society. Black History Month UK went from receiving a kind-hearted response to being a national celebration to BHM UK individuals, shaping history as it stands today. Black History Month 2022 is being celebrated with a theme of 'Time for Change: Action Not Words'.
Black History Month Official Page
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'Proud to be' - Articles and a FREE course on Black History
The life of Mama Elouise Edwards
From her birth in Georgetown, British Guiana, to her MBE for services to the Manchester community, this article explores the extraordinary life of Mama Elouise Edwards...
Helen Cammock and the art of storytelling
The artist Helen Cammock discusses how her art has transformed from using herself as a conduit for conversations about race to ‘the collective’ in this film. In the article below Philip Seargeant explores how art can operate as a form of storytelling, different to political or media storytelling.
Betty Luckham: celebrating the activism of a pioneering Windrush woman
What brought a bright young woman, working in the civil service in 1950s British Guiana, to settle in Manchester? And who could have predicted the impact she would have as she worked with the African Caribbean communities there?
Wangari Maathai: standing up for women and the environment
Professor Wangari Maathai was an environmentalist and the first female African Nobel Peace Prize winner. Yoseph Araya explores her contribution to the environment and what that meant to be a woman in this field of work.
Remembering Stuart Hall
Stuart Hall (3 February 1932 – 10 February 2014) was a cultural theorist and Professor of Sociology at The Open University from 1979-1997. We remember him with these articles and video clips.
W.E.B. Du Bois – A Man for All Times
Dr Anita Naoko Pilgrim explores the life of W.E.B. Du Bois and explains why his ground-breaking work on African American lives deserves attention today.
Katherine Johnson: NASA mathematician and much-needed role model
Katherine Johnson, who in February 2020 died at the age of 101, was an amazing woman. But up until a few years ago, hardly anyone had heard of her or her achievements. Professor Monica Grady explores her amazing legacy.
Race and place
How does your background and childhood experiences impact on your sense of identity? Poet Jackie Kay explores through poetry.
Inspiring black women from across the globe
World-Changing Women: Madam CJ Walker
As a single woman in the early 20th century making ends meet was no easy feat, so it's remarkable that Madam CJ Walker became the first female self-made millionaire in America. Read her story here...
World-Changing Women: Charlotte Maxeke
A rights activist against the exploitation that was prevalent in South Africa, Charlotte Maxeke was South Africa's first black female graduate and one of the first female freedom fighters. Find out more about her extraordinary story...
World-Changing Women: Queen Nzinga
Queen Nzinga managed to call a halt to Portuguese slave raids in her kingdom through clever tactics. Read about her legacy in this article...
Tubman: The Moses of Her People
Harriet Tubman led 300 slaves northwards to freedom in 19 trips along the "underground railroad". Dr Will Hardy introduces her story.
The Extraordinary Rosa Parks
In 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a bus and history was changed forever.
Why Michelle Obama's farewell is a masterclass in speech making
In her last speaking engagement as First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama showed how to give a speech that resonates.
Videos and podcasts on black arts and culture
The Black History Month Talks
Explore the recorded presentations from The Open University's BME network's Black History Month event in October 2020.
Art, Loot and Empire: The Benin Bronzes
How did the West African artworks known as the Benin Bronzes end up in European museums? And why does it matter?
10 years on... The Z Files with Benjamin Zephaniah
To celebrate Black History Month in 2009, we focused on notable black people in the fields of science, technology and engineering.
Carnival and the performance of heritage
There's a lot more to Notting Hill Carnival than a great street party. This album gives you a true insider guide, by some of the people who have made the Carnival what it is today. Its story reaches back to the darkest recesses of European tradition, through Colonialism and slavery, to racist Britain of the 1950’s and 60’s. It merges ...
James Berry: Windrush songs
How does a poet represent two distinctly different cultures in their work? How did James Berry interpret his experience and those of other Jamaican’s that migrated to England in the late 1940’s into his writing? James Berry was born in Jamaica in 1924, but moved to England during the wave of immigration from the West Indies led by the Empire ...
Black British Jazz
What is Black British Jazz? This short film explores the research carried out by The Open University research team led by Dr Jason Toynbee who has been examining the history of Black British Jazz and the stories of the artists who have performed it. This video looks at the history of jazz and how the story dates back as far as 1919, documenting ...
Articles on the Civil Rights Movement
How did Aretha Franklin inspire the civil rights movement?
Aretha Franklin's death in 2018 saw the loss not just of a sublime singer, but also one of key figures in the US Civil Rights movement. Leah Kardos pays tribute.
Rosa Parks and Rob Williams sparked a revolution against racism – but has the US squandered their legacy?
When Rosa Parks caught a bus on 1 December 1955, she created a moment of history. Dr Anthony Gunter looks at how the struggles for integration still continue in America today.
How radical was Martin Luther King?
His message on civil rights was unequivocal - but Paul Harvey argues that in Martin Luther King's economic and social message was his greatest claim to radicalism.
Black people in sport
Uncovering Britain’s Lost Black Sporting Heroes
Why haven’t the often-extraordinary stories of Black sportspeople been woven into British sporting memory? What does this tell us about the relationship between ‘race’, racism and sport history? Dr Jim Lusted explores…
What made Muhammad Ali "The Greatest"?
Muhammad Ali died on Friday June 3rd, 2016. Ellis Cashmore remembers a legend on both sides of the ropes.
Black lives matter in sport too: what is the BAME experience of sport in the UK?
In the current climate, it would be hard not to notice the social upheaval among the BAME population in the UK and USA. Be it the high proportion of deaths among the BAME community from contracting COVID-19 or unarmed black men and women being killed unjustly by the police. So, as a black British man with Nigerian parents, I must express my ...
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I was looking back at this Guardian article from June.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/11/only-fifth-of-uk-universities-have-said-they-will-decolonise-curriculum?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
I am studying A329 and I would like to know whether the Open University has committed in writing to de-colonising the curriculums on all of its courses and is giving training to its staff. In particular I would like to know whether A329 has de-colonised its curriculum and has given its teaching staff training in de-colonisation. Many thanks.
Good morning Paul,
Many thanks for your comment, The Open University is in the very early stages of creating a Decolonising the Curriculum working group. One of the key objectives will be to understand the potential effect of systemic racial bias and coloniality on the OU’s design, delivery and evaluation of curriculum and identify necessary changes in practice, aligning to sector-wide benchmarks and regulatory requirements. This will be a long and substantial piece of work that will likely take years but I can confirm these conversations are taking place.
To answer your question, this work hasn’t been applied to any specific module yet but as they get redesigned we’re hoping we can start to incorporating the work the group is doing.
I am happy to debate this month of black history