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Black History Month

black history month

What is Black History Month?

Black History Month originates from the United States, where it is also known as African-American History Month, and the first celebration of Black History Month took place in 1970.

The first Black History Month in the UK took place in October 1987 and it was organised through the leadership of Ghanaian analyst Akyaaba Addai-Sebo. It was first celebrated in London, but it has now been celebrated nationally every October for over 30 years.

In the UK, it  was originally founded to recognise the contributions that people of African and Caribbean backgrounds have made to the UK over many generations.

However, Black History Month has now expanded to also include the history of black people in general and their contributions.

Black History Month is now a chance to highlight the achievements and contributions of black people through the ages, and the many day-to-day struggles and barriers to progress they still face, and that the quality and scope of black history taught in schools needs to be re-evaluated.

Why is it so important?

“2020 has held a mirror up to the world and forced many to see the reality of racism,” Catherine Ross – Guest Editor of Black History Month, 2020.

The aim of launching Black History Month in the 1980’s in London was for the local community to challenge racism and to educate themselves and others about the black history that was not taught in schools. 

History shows that black people have actually been in Britain for a lot longer than previously thought – one of the oldest skeletons ever found was that of the Cheddar Man, who had dark skin. He was named Cheddar Man due to being discovered over a century ago in Gough’s Cave in Cheddar, in Somerset. 

Black History Month is also used as a platform to highlight the contributions that black people have made, and continue to make – Numerous black people have been leaders in a number of industries, including CEOs, managers, and surgeons, and let’s not forget that a group of female mathematicians helped Nasa to win the Space Race, and that America had a black president. 

In the UK we also have a number of politicians who are from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. 

Throughout history black people have always been present in the UK, but there has been a lack of representation in history books –  It is important to remember the people who have helped to shape the UK.

For example, In paintings of Henry VIII you can see black people in the background – Queen Victoria even had a black goddaughter whose mother was Omoba, a Nigerian princess who was given to the queen when her parents died after being captured by slave traders. Her name was changed to Sarah Forbes-Bonetta.

Black History Month is the perfect way for us all to educate ourselves about racism and how we can all stand together in solidarity against it. The past is so important, but we all need to promote black excellence, to help focus on the next generation and the world they are growing up in. 

The recents events in America show that we still have a long way to go but people are starting to challenge this treatment- Premier League footballers have taken the knee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, there have been calls to remove statues of white people who contributed to Britain’s role in the transatlantic slave trade (a time where black people were traded for goods and sold into slavery for work, which lasted for more than 400 years.)

Most recently, Diversity, the highly popular British dance group performed a very powerful and emotive dance in relation to Black Lives Matter, which you can see here:

“Hopefully, the events of 2020 will be a catalyst for Black history to be shared much more widely – in museums, galleries, schools, universities, public spaces and communities.” – Catherine Ross

To find out all about Black History Month and just why it is so important, please visit https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/

At Abicare we are proud to promote ethnicity and diversity, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our BAME staff who do a fantastic job every single day. 

We’d also like to say a special thanks to our BAME live-in carers who worked across 5 hotels to look after patients who had been discharged from hospital, allowing hospitals to free up bed spaces to those who needed it most, primarily Covid-19 patients.  This is even more remarkable as BAME were identified as the workforce at greatest risk during the early days of the Pandemic.  Our carers, whilst concerned, committed to work through the lock down, a minimum of 3 months, and ensured we provided a quality service across all hotels.  The feedback from all the patients in all the hotels was unanimous in their gratitude and acknowledgment of how amazing the carers were and the wonderful care they received.

We thank you all, and we are proud to support Black History Month.