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Black History Month

Black History Month

Black History Month takes place in October every year and is an annual commemoration of the history, achievements and contributions of Black people in the UK. 

People from many different backgrounds come together during this month to celebrate the positive role of Black people in shaping our communities.

Black History Month 2020

For local events and articles, subscribe for free to the Bristol Black History Month 2020 Magazine.

Bristol Museums are celebrating with a series of events and online talks. To book your free place visit Bristol Museums website.

You can also visit the Black History Month website.

Black History Month aims

The aims of Black History Month are to: 

  • promote knowledge and understanding of Black History and culture, both nationally and in Bristol
  • acknowledge and celebrate the contributions made by Black people to the cultural and economic development of the UK

The origins of Black History Month

In 1926, Carter G Woodson established African Caribbean celebrations in America where Black History Month is still celebrated each February.

After visiting America in the 1970s, Ghanaian-born Akyaaba Addai Sebo, a special projects officer at the Greater London Council, founded the UK's version of Black History Month in 1987.

The US celebrates in February because the birthdays of former US President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass fall within this month.

There are two reasons thought to be behind why Black History Month is celebrated in October in the UK:

  • Traditionally, October is when African chiefs and leaders gather to settle their differences, so Akyaaba chose this month to reconnect with African roots.
  • Additionally, many thought that since it was the beginning of the new academic year, October would give Black children a sense of pride and identity.

Black History Month has since grown in the UK, where over 6,000 events take place each year.

More resources

  • Bristol’s Black History: learn more about Black history in this city, with stories compiled by the Bristol Museums Black History Steering Group.
  • Iconic Black Britons heritage trail: see large murals of seven iconic Bristol residents from the Windrush generation on this walk: The Seven Saints of St. Pauls.