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Celebrate Black History Month in Britain

Friday 09 October 2020
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Honouring the huge contribution, rich cultures and vibrant histories of black communities in Britain each October, Black History Month promotes numerous inspiring exhibitions, celebrations and online talks across the nation. Just of a few of the many insightful events include a discussion on inspirational British African women and a selection of powerful photography shows.


London and southern England

One such stand-out exhibition is Windrush: Portrait of a Generation, a selection of striking photos by award-winning social documentary photographer Jim Grover. Now re-exhibited in Brixton Tate Library after a successful showing at Oxo Gallery in central London, these poignant shots showcase the Windrush generation – the first generation of Caribbean migrants to settle in Britain – and focuses on their lives around Brixton, Clapham and Stockwell. Visitors can book a free slot to this showing from 1 October - 31 March 2021.

Visitors to the heart of London this October can book to see Honour, Remember, Inspire, Zari Gallery’s celebratory exhibition for Black History Month. Curated after a successful call out to black artists and running from 1 - 30 October 2020, this show tells their unique stories and highlights how their work has impacted the capital’s creative scene.

North-west London will hold a special Camden Black History Season: Library Lates, taking place on 28 October 2020 at Holborn Library. This late-night session will showcase the talents of story-telling extraordinaire African-Caribbean legend TUPP – the Unorthodox Unprecedented Preacher; performer Usifu Jalloh – The Cowfoot Prince; and a number of guest musicians, honouring the influence of African communities and individuals in Britain.

From the capital to the historic town of Ipswich, Suffolk; where a selection of images from noted black photographer John Ferguson’s ground-breaking Black Britannia collection can be seen from 3 October - 1 November 2020. A unique outdoor installation located in front of the Town Hall, this free display showcases 55 inspirational black Britons, from celebrities such as Naomi Campbell and Lewis Hamilton to teachers, athletes and lawyers.


The Midlands and northern England

Important exhibitions are also being held in the north of England, as Northumberland’s Woodhorn Museum shines a light on the history of African Caribbean people in Britain’s mining industry in Digging Deep: Coal Minders of African Caribbean Heritage. This under-studied part of British history will be explored through film, photography and original art in a free exhibition, showing from 3 October - 1 November 2020.

Spanning centuries of African history, a nine-part series of talks will take place at Birmingham’s Legacy Centre of Excellence. The Black Past series will run each Monday until the end of November, taking listeners on an expansive journey through key events from Africa’s past and revealing the continent’s incredible cultural impact across the globe.

A debate named after the literary movement of 1930-40s Paris, where black writers wanted to cultivate race consciousness through their work, is coming to Leicester Central Library this Black History Month. Presented by with Opal22 Arts and Edutainment, the Negritude Debates will discuss the vast contribution and impact of African and Caribbean literary heroes.


Online events

Shining light on subjects such as black LGBTQ+ visibility and representation, Pride Cymru are to host an online talk every Monday in October at 6pm for Black History Month. Shared on their social media, these important explorations of race within the context of the LGBTQ+ community will be hosted by Rahim El Habachi, who will be joined by inspirational guests each week.

Take a sensory journey into black music culture in Britain with The Sounds of Croydon: From Samuel Coleridge-Taylor to Stormzy. From the classical delights of Coleridge-Taylor to the modern rave and grime scenes, this online tour pairs sounds with piercing imagery to showcase the cultural importance of Croydon’s black community to London’s musical past, present and future.

Also hailing from the capital is Royal Museums Greenwich’s fantastic array of online events, including Mutiny at sea: Enslaved African Resistance on board. Taking place on 16 October 2020, Professor Hakim Adi will explain the histories of rebellions at sea, such as the Zong massacre, and how they were a driver of societal and cultural change. Also part of the programme is Black Women Making Waves, set for 29 October. This free talk highlights the maritime contributions of black women, from historical journeys to tales of unwavering resilience, alongside a screening of the short film, Surf Girls of Jamaica.

Wandsworth Libraries are also highlighting the work and lives of trailblazing black women in Exploring legacies: Dame Jocelyn Barrow and other inspirational British African Women. This free online forum and film screening celebrates the legacies of a number of notable female figures, with the opportunity for a wider discussion around strategies to overcome barriers, taking place via Zoom on 20 October

Moving north from London, York St John University is hosting An evening with Jeffrey Boakye, author of Black, Listed: Black British Culture Explored. Taking place on 21 October 2020, this free online talk will explore race, social justice and identity politics in a postcolonial society.

The University of Aberdeen is also presenting a number of free race-focused talks for Black History Month. These include Charles Heddle: An Afro-Scottish trader and the abolition of the slave trade in Sierra Leone, an interesting look into the Afro-European ‘merchant prince’ whose fortune was made in the British colony of Sierra Leone in the 19th century. On 10 October viewers can join poet Jayda David for an online spoken word workshop covering themes ranging from Black British History to mental health, while 30 October will see In conversation with Professor Christopher Jackson. Another online event, it promises to give insight into the remarkable life of Jackson, an esteemed geologist who was the first black scientist to deliver the celebrated Christmas Lecture at the Royal Institute.


Visitors are encouraged to always check individual attraction websites for the latest information, as events and details are subject to change.

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

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