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.
Latest articles and a FREE course on Black History
In this free course, The American Civil Rights Movement, you will learn about the mass movement for racial equality in the United States that reached its zenith during the 1950s and 1960s. During this turbulent period in United States history, black Americans sought to overturn deeply entrenched systems of racial segregation and discrimination. This course discusses the key events in this campaign for social justice, drawing on a wide range of primary sources. In doing so, it assesses the achievements, shortcomings and revolutionary qualities of the civil rights movement. Use of racial language and terms This course deals with topics involving racial issues. Since the societies being studied were characterised by deeply-held and widespread racist views, this course contains language that is also racist. Although these may provoke a strong personal response, we believe it is necessary to engage with such attitudes to reach a clear understanding of the past. This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course A113 Revolutions.Learn more ❯The American Civil Rights Movement
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.Read now ❯W.E.B. Du Bois – A Man for All Times
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?Watch now ❯Betty Luckham: celebrating the activism of a pioneering Windrush woman
How does a person’s ethnicity and the perspectives of different cultures affect the identification of neurological difference? Mel Green explores in this article on neurodiversity.Read now ❯Neurodiversity: What is it and what does it look like across races?
A new branch of the study of language seeks to explore the links between the language we use and the racial differences we experience. Can language have a race? In this article, Mel Green explores the links between race and language.Read now ❯Hearing Race: Can language use lead to racism?
‘Children don’t see colour’ is a phrase we often hear when discussing race – but is this true? Mel Green explores how children conceptualise the idea of race and respond to it.Read now ❯How do children learn the concept of race?
What prejudices does society have when it comes to race, gender age and class? Our short animation explores…Read now ❯How race, gender, age and class affects the way people are perceived
Copyright: Monkey Business Images for DreamsTime
Including diversity in race, ethnicity and culture in your teaching
Are you an educator, someone working with children or with adult students, who hopes to use the Black History Month resources to make your teaching practice more inclusive for pupils and students from a black or minority ethnic background? Here are some quick tips from Anita Naoko Pilgrim on how you might approach that work.Read now ❯Including diversity in race, ethnicity and culture in your teaching
NASA/Bob Nye under Creative-Commons license
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.Read now ❯Katherine Johnson: NASA mathematician and much-needed role model
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…Read now ❯ Uncovering Britain’s Lost Black Sporting Heroes
Inspiring black women from across the globe
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...Read now ❯World-Changing Women: Madam CJ Walker
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...Read now ❯World-Changing Women: Charlotte Maxeke
In her last speaking engagement as First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama showed how to give a speech that resonates.Watch now ❯Why Michelle Obama's farewell is a masterclass in speech making
Podcasts and articles on black arts and culture
To celebrate Black History Month in 2009, we focused on notable black people in the fields of science, technology and engineering.Read now ❯10 years on... The Z Files with Benjamin Zephaniah
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 contemporary ideas with art forms reaching back via the Caribbean slave plantations to tribal Africa. And its setting in West London brings out a history of the area which some of its residents might prefer to forget. The album also contains academic perspectives from Susie West, Lecturer in Heritage Studies at The Open University; Hakim Adi, Reader in the History of Africa and the African Diaspora at Middlesex University; and Ruth Tompsett, Visiting Lecturer in Carnival Studies at Middlesex University. This material forms part of The Open University Course AD281 Understanding global heritage.Listen now ❯Carnival and the performance of heritage
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 Windrush. From a young age Berry had an interest in language, and showed an aptitude for spoken word and through writing soon realised he could explore the world from different perspectives. He became part of a new generation of post-colonial poets who drew inspiration from their country of birth in addition to British culture. This album focuses on a selection of poems from his collection titled Windrush songs. This material forms part of The Open University course A230 Reading and studying literature.Listen now ❯James Berry: Windrush songs
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 how successive waves of black musicians have contributed to developing new and uniquely British sounds, as well as addressing the problematic issues surrounding race and cultural identity.Watch now ❯Black British Jazz
Harlem is transforming. The 'capital of black America' has made it through the cultural ferment of the 1960s, the disinvestment and urban decay of the 1970s, the rampant crime and crack house era of the eighties - only to find that its greatest threat could be the investment now pouring in to New York's famous black neighbourhood.Read now ❯Harlem
Articles on the Civil Rights Movement
Copyright free: Cecilio Ricardo, US Air Force
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.Watch now ❯How did Aretha Franklin inspire the civil rights movement?
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.Read now ❯Rosa Parks and Rob Williams sparked a revolution against racism – but has the US squandered their legacy?
Copyright free: Library of Congress, New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection, Reproduction Number LC-USZ62-126558
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.Read now ❯How radical was Martin Luther King?
Topical articles on race and Black Lives Matter
Dr Anthony Gunter draws on his ethnographic research and experience as a community and youth work practitioner to give us the real experiences of Black young people and the justice system.Read now ❯'Keeping it Real': The Experiences of Black Youth beyond Criminal (In)Justice Statistics
David Scott argues that contemporary penal abolitionists can take inspiration not from British liberal anti-slavery ‘abolitionism from above’ but from the lived experiences and testimonies of slaves and former slaves...Read now ❯Abolitionism must come from below: A critique of British Anti-Slavery Abolition
Police crime figures show stabbing deaths among young people were at their highest level for 8 years.Read now ❯Knife crime is a health risk for young people – it can’t be solved by policing alone
Black people in sport
Muhammad Ali died on Friday June 3rd, 2016. Ellis Cashmore remembers a legend on both sides of the ropes.Read now ❯What made Muhammad Ali "The Greatest"?
Copyright free: Photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels
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 views from a sports and physical activity viewpoint. Can Sports be a beacon of hope in these dark times?Read now ❯Black lives matter in sport too: what is the BAME experience of sport in the UK?
Simon Rea outlines three reasons why sports people are important and iconic figures throughout our history.Read now ❯Three reasons why sports people are worthy icons
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