Black History Month UK

Image by James Eades

October is Black History Month UK

The brutal killing of George Floyd by American police in June sparked global protests against racism. Here in the UK young activists took to the streets to demand an end to racial inequality in education, health, justice and employment. Sparking important conversations over Britain’s colonial past and its role in the Atlantic Slave Trade within government, business and the media.

This October we’re going to take a look back at the Black British activists of the 1960s and 1980s who used ‘Non-Violent Civil Disobedience’ to help achieve racial equality in the UK. We’re going to shine a light on the Civil Rights activists behind the Bristol Bus Boycott and the Lewisham Mums against SUS laws who paved the way for today’s young Black British activists.

Bristol Bus Boycott

In 1963, Roy Hackett, Paul Stephenson, Audley Evans and Guy Bailey joined together to organise a boycott to force the Bristol Omnibus Company to change its racist policies that stopped Black and Asian people from working on the buses. The protest attracted national attention and ultimately lead to the passing of the Race Relations Act in 1965 that banned all discrimination in the workplace.

Lewisham Mums against SUS laws

A group of Lewisham mums lead by Mavis Best, campaigned to stop the SUS laws in the UK with the support of Paul Boateng (future Home Secretary and Labour Peer). The law was abolished on 27 August 1981 but three years later the government introduce the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 which reintroduced stop and search.

 

Black British history is British history

These Black British activists fought to change the law and help create modern Britain, but their voices have been erased and forgotten from UK history. We want you to help spread the word on these pioneering Black Britons by liking and sharing their stories on social media throughout October.

There are so many other ways you can support Black History Month UK. Why not check our blog '31 ways to celebrate Black History Month UK' or visit our Resources page for some ideas.

We are only able to provide you with a mere snapshot of Black British history. We hope that we piqued your interest and inspired you to find out more about rich and varied Black British history. We encourage you to look beyond the month of October because every day should Black History day.

Explore our website for ideas. Visit museums and exhibitions. Consumer Black media.

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