October is Black History Month

Published: 1st October 2021

October is Black History Month

An awareness of diversity, multi-ethnicity, race and diverse cultural narratives should be ever-present in our historical narratives. In schools and other educational environments this should be even more important. That is why in 2021 we want to use Black History Month to celebrate the breadth and depth of Black culture and history.

This month is an opportunity to explore some of the richness and the many different dimensions of British, European and global Black histories along with their cultural manifestation and legacies. That is not to say that the difficult and often traumatic reality of racism and racist attitudes that have led to a collective ignorance or dismissal of Black history are to be ignored – quite the opposite; those attitudes and ideas have to be addressed in a progressive society. It is simply that this month should not be about tackling racism merely through tokenistic vignettes of men and women, but rather by educating everyone from all backgrounds of the importance of knowing about Black histories as an integral part of the study of human history. Through exploring the past in this way, everyone can become informed about people, ideas and lives that they may have known little or nothing about previously, and so can come to appreciate those members of Black communities of the past who have helped to shape the world in which we all live.

It is true that in 2021 we shouldn’t have to rely on a single designated month to ensure that those diverse histories are covered, and that is why the HA has been a strong advocate as well as resource provider for ensuring that Black history is something that is addressed in general histories and integrated throughout the whole curriculum and throughout the whole year. It is why we have facilitated CPD to help educators understand the issues affecting the teaching of Black History, as well as CPD that provides knowledge and understanding of how to ensure that it is taught well across the year groups.

Therefore, Black History Month can be something else; it can be a triumphant listen to the many stories that make up this history so that you can decide how to expand on them further during the remaining 11 months of a learning year. October is a focal point to celebrate diversity, not to deconstruct it but to admire it, to breathe it in, to recognise and value the significance of Black history and how it is part of all our histories and our cultural reality.  

Coming up this month from the HA:

  • Hand-picked podcasts that explore Black history
  • Hand-picked articles that examine Black History
  • The HA Secondary Survey’s findings on the teaching of diversity in the classroom
  • Links to other providers such as Black Cultural Archives