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.

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

Black History Month 2021 events

We’re celebrating with a series of free events and online talks:

Sunday 3 and Saturday 16 October

Event: Windrush photography workshops 
Visit: Real Photography Company events and courses
Location: St. Pauls Learning Centre, Bristol, BS2 8XJ

Celebrating the arrival and contribution of the Windrush generation in Bristol with free photography workshops at the centre’s darkrooms.

Thursday 7 October

Event: Race and the City 2: Recruitment Opportunities
Time: 4pm to 6pm
Visit: Eventbrite: Bristol's Race and the City 2 to sign up to a place
Location: City Hall, College Green, Bristol

Hear from leading public sector organisations and meet employers, as top local organisations will be showcasing job roles together with other exciting opportunities. These organisations are wishing to improve diversity in their workforce.

Sunday 17 October

Event: A Long Walk to Freedom: Bristol Black Public Sector Workers in Solidarity
Visit: Eventbrite: A Long Walk to Freedom
Location: Bristol Hippodrome, St Augustine's Parade, Bristol, BS1 4UZ

Walk starting at Bristol Hippodrome. Just turn up. 

Bristol’s Public Sector Workers in collaboration with Steppin Sista’s will be celebrating the benefits of a diverse workforce at all levels. Bristol public sector Black staff groups are invited to join ‘our walk to freedom’.

The aim is to provide a space to reflect, and to meet others working in the public sector.

Wednesday 20 October

Event: Masterclass in family history 
Time: 1pm to 2pm
Visit: Black History Month: Black History masterclass in family history
Location: Online with Bristol Libraries

Learn how to trace your family history with genealogy specialist Paul Crooks.

Bristol Museum events

Bristol Museums also have a series of events and online talks. To book your free place visit Bristol Museums website.

Explore other Black History Month events

For details of more events in Bristol to mark Black History Month, visit the Black History Month website.

You can also read a digital copy of Bristol’s Black History Month 2021 magazine.

West of England Black Interns pilot  

This year Bristol city Mayor’s office launched a new internship programme in the region called the West of England Black Interns pilot.

The scheme provides four weeks paid work experience for black and mixed heritage students with Hargreaves Lansdown coordinating the recruitment and placement of interns.  

The initiative is a cross sector internship programme, offering Black students living or studying in the West of England the opportunity to gain valuable work experience within an organisation.

Hear more about the pilot from Councillor Asher Craig on Youtube.  

Bristol’s Black History 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: visit large murals of seven iconic Bristol residents from the Windrush generation on this walk: The Seven Saints of St. Pauls

Bristol and Transatlantic Slavery. Origins, impact and legacy: A new textbook for secondary schools.

Together Bristol Museums and Bristol History teachers have supplemented the existing curriculum about Bristol’s links to slavery. This so that schoolchildren in Bristol have a better chance of fully understanding this part of Bristol’s story. 

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.

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.