Black History Month at Canterbury Christ Church University

It’s October and Black History Month has come back around, here’s how Canterbury Christ Church University and the Students’ Union are planning to celebrate it.

What is Black History Month?

BHM started as a time to promote, preserve and study African life and history after the American Civil War and Abraham Lincoln passing the 13th amendment – abolishing slavery.

What’s happening at the university?

The university have previously flown the Black History Month flag outside of Augustine House and have their profile showing support on the official Black History Month website.

Suman Fernando, retired psychiatrist from the NHS, will be guest speaking at the university October 10th on “Institutional Racism in Mental Health”. There will also be other guest speakers in the Michael Berry Theatre during October, search the University website for more.

What about our students’ union?

President of Wellbeing at Christ Church Student Union, Jamie Harris, believes that it’s important to use BHM to reach out and engage with the ‘black and minority ethnic’ students.

He said: “It is important that we celebrate Black History Month in order to understand the contribution of black staff and students within the University, as well as celebrating the diverse cultures that we have.

“It is also key to raise awareness of historical examples that have helped to define our present-day multiculturalism.

“We would like to use Black History Month to reach out to and engage with our BME community, and to celebrate their culture with the wider student body.

“We hope to hold a number of events throughout October for Black History Month and if any student wants to help or get involved please let me know on facebook or jamie@ccsu.co.uk.”

What’s in place?

  • There will be a book display of famous black authors all throughout of October at the university bookshop on  North Holmes campus.
  • There will be posters all over the university of prominent black figures and their importance to society. All chosen by students and staff of the university.
  • There will be a Black History Month themed event at The Big Quiz – date to be confirmed.
  • The student union have partnered with Unified and will be releasing blogs all throughout October about the experiences of BME staff and students at our university.

An official list of events will be released soon.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

– Martin Luther King

History: Black History Month

The United Kingdom first celebrated Black History Month in 1987 after a Ghanaian analyst; Akyaaba Addai-Sebo organised the event through the collaboration he created with the Greater London Council after one incident that he talked about for Every Generation.

“The inspiration for Black History Month came from an incident that happened at the GLC where I worked as the coordinator of special projects. A colleague of mine, a woman, came to work one morning, looking very downcast and not herself. I asked her what the matter was, and she confided to me that the previous night when she was putting her son Marcus to bed he asked her, ‘Mum, why can’t I be white?'”

Black History Month was originally started in 1926 in the United States, first called Negro History week.

The second week of February was chosen in the US due to it being Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’ birthday that week, two prominent figures in ending slavery in the US.

 

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