Representing a coordinated and focussed drive to challenge racism in society through education, Black History Month seeks to enlighten individuals about the hidden figures and aspects of Black British history that have been overlooked taught in schools.
Despite the presence, struggles, and achievements of Black figures throughout the history of the UK, Black people have continually been subjected to a lack of proper representation in the history books. As a result, it's especially important to remember the forgotten people who have helped to shape the UK.
In the wake of the #BlackLivesMatter protests capturing attention around the world, the systemic racism directed towards Britain’s Windrush Generation and their descendants, and the vile racist abuse directed towards England’s young footballers, now, more than ever before, many individuals and organisations have demonstrated an understanding and commitment to educating themselves about Black heritage, culture, and history – as part of understanding racism and standing in solidarity against it.
As Catherine Ross Editor of Black History Month 2020 said last year, however:
“If that commitment is to transcend beyond social media into real change, everyone, from all communities, needs to embrace Black History Month as a starting point for exploring, discovering and celebrating Black history, heritage and culture – both past and contemporary. From the incredible achievements and contributions, to the many untold stories and barriers to progress – the day-to-day reality of institutionalised racism.”
In essence, as fascinating as hearing new stories from history is, Black History Month is about so much more than simply shining a light on these underrepresented figures. Black people will continue to make history, as they always have been. It is up to all of us to educate ourselves, however, to stand against racism and to act in a way which means their experiences aren’t ignored in the future.