Occurring each October, Black History Month has apparently been celebrated in the United Kingdom since 1987. Although I had previously heard about it, I had never investigated further until now. It’s basically a remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora, which I think is important to have a knowledge about.
I personally take an active interest in African-American history specifically and have thus chosen to base my third-year dissertation around African-American women during the Civil Rights Movement. During my research, I have learnt a lot about figureheads such as the famous Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Fred Shuttlesworth, and their fight towards racial equality. I have similarly just started a module called ‘Crime and Punishment in African-American History’; this is hugely interesting so far as we have been discussing the legal implications for slaves in the nineteenth century, and will progress to study aspects like violence and lynching.
It is coincidental that I am studying these topics during Black History Month, but the University is holding a series of events in celebration of it too. Just today there was a series of talks, interactions and a display of historical artifacts featuring expert scholars in the field (for example, our own Dr. George Lewis, and the University of Nottingham’s Prof. Sharon Monteith) in Queens Hall. If you’re interested in getting involved, there are still more events such as Human Geography lecturer, Jen Dickinson’s presentation on the ‘Modern Scramble for Africa’ on the 20th October; the research ‘explores the changing nature of India’s political and economic relationship with the African continent, from the 1800’s through to the present day’. Similarly, on the 22nd October, ‘Why is my Curriculum White?’ will highlight the contemporary significance of the topic with relevance to the University itself.
If you want to find out more about what the University is offering, take a look here.
Overall, I think it’s brilliant that the University is getting so involved with Black History Month, and making History a subject which is accessible to students of all disciplines. As British Prime Minister, David Cameron has claimed: ‘Black History Month has proven over many years to be a valuable celebration of the African-Carribbean community’.