Black History Month (BHM) is held every October in Britain and every February in USA and Canada.
Its aims are to:
- Promote knowledge of Black History and Cultural Heritage
- Disseminate information on positive Black contributions to British Society
- Heighten the confidence and awareness of Black people to their cultural heritage.
The origins of BHM go as far back as the 1920s, when Carter G Woodson, editor of the Journal of Negro History established Afro-Caribbean celebrations in America. Black History Month is for all of the African Diaspora. In Britain now, BHM has over 6,000 events!
There are many events about Black history and culture, including theatre performances, concerts, art exhibits, and film screenings. Entertainment highlights for Black History Month this year are FELA!, a musical of Africa’s most legendary figures; Home Grown, an exhibition on the evolution of British hip hop culture; and Picture This, a photo exhibition of 30 inspirational portraits of black Britons by John Ferguson.
Black History Month is not only a celebration of history, however, but also a discussion on prominent current issues. One of the biggest issues Black History Month in the UK tries to tackle year after year is the fight against HIV and AIDS. The number of people living with HIV has risen from around 8 million in 1990 to nearly 40 million today, and is still growing.The majority of those affected (28 million) live in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Caribbean is the second most affected.
One of the reoccurring themes for Black History Month is ‘Positive Role Models,’ in which Nelson Mandela has always played a great role. When his statue was unveiled on Parliament Square in August 2007, he gave a speech in which he said, “It is important for you as leaders to harness your responsibilities and ensure that you also empower those around you who scale the mountains with you.”
Inspirational Black History Month to you all!