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5 ways to celebrate Black History Month UK at school

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

There are lots of creative ways your school can recognise Black History Month UK beyond school assemblies and we've come up with a few ideas.

Black History Month UK is an opportunity to ensure that all young people, no matter their background, learn about the contributions of Black Britons to UK History. As David Olusoga said:“this is our national story, this is British history, it belongs to all of us.”

1. Sharing Journeys Campaign

Take part in our Sharing Journeys campaign, by getting your classes to research and create a visual installation using the six individuals from this year’s campaign: John La Rose, Lapido Solanke, Jessica Huntley, Katherine Wrasama, Dr Harold Moody and Amanda Alridge. For younger children, you may want to look at Black Britons from different time periods and we suggest you check out last year’s Black to the Past campaign for inspiration. We’re encouraging all schools and colleges to send us a picture or video of your installations by tagging us on any of our social media sites.

You can also choose to participate in our #BHMFamilies selfie challenge by getting your pupils to bring in a picture or item that reflects a family tradition and use this as a talking point to discuss the contributions of Black Britons to UK history and culture. You could explore cultural events such as the Notting Hill Carnival and why it started; explore how the British diet has changed over the years with the introduction of new foods like Jollof Rice and Jerk Chicken; and the British music scene by exploring new musical genres such as Lovers Rock, Jungle, and Grime.

2. Take part in our #BHMLandmarks challenge

You could organise a class trip to explore your locality to take a picture of statues and plaques that recognise the achievements of African and Caribbean heritage people in the UK. You can find information on the whereabouts of statues and plaques on the websites of Nubian Jak and the English Heritage or the Black London: History, Arts & Culture book. Post your pictures with the hashtag #bhmlandmarks and tag us on any of our social media accounts.

3. Virtually visit the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) and explore key events in British History

The Black Cultural Archives has lots of resources covering different time periods in British history including Black Abolitionists in Georgian London, Victorian Britons of African heritage whose work significantly impacted the arts, science and technology, and the Windrush generations who campaigned for legislative change that transformed the lives of all British migrants.

4. Turn your classroom into a living museum to celebrate the lives of past and living Black Britons

Have your students choose a notable Black British pioneer they'd like to know more about, such as Georgian writer Ignatius Sancho, Victorian circus owner Pablo Fanque, Henry VIII's trumpeteer John Blanke, or Dr Harold Moody who campaigned against racism in Edwardian Britain and provided free medical care to the poorer members of his local community before the establishment of NHS. Then using their research, have them create a living museum in your classroom. They can create posters and do presentations to show what they've learnt through their research. Our website is great way to start your research or you can review resources from the Black Curriculm, BCA, Museum of London, BBC bitesize, and Yorkshire Museum.

5. Remember that UK Black History isn't confined to a month

At its core, Black History Month UK is about celebrating and recognising the contributions of Britons left out of mainstream UK history. We advise that you avoid emotive subjects like the Atlantic Slave Trade (perhaps tackle the topic during August when the International Slavery Remembrance Day is marked) and focus on British rather than African American History during the month. It is also an opportunity for educators to start diversifying the curriculum for the rest of the academic year. Teachers can make sure that all ethnicities and social classes are represented in reading materials and artwork in all subjects all year round.

Happy Black History Month UK!

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