Here at Roehampton, we are proud to celebrate Black History Month this October. Over the next month we will be sharing interviews with staff and students, updates on what’s been happening on campus and stories showcasing the different aspects of Black History Month. We will spotlight the Black people and communities who have contributed and shaped Roehampton’s history and will influence and drive our future.
But first we wanted to share the history of Black History Month to give insights into the legacy of this important celebration.
It was in the early 20th century when the seeds of Black History Month were first sown in the UK. A man named Carter G. Woodson, who had pioneered the concept of Black History Month in the United States, inspired the birth of a similar movement in Britain. It was in the 1920s that the London-based activist, historian, and educator, Dr. Harold Moody, founded the League of Coloured Peoples. Dr. Moody’s dedication to civil rights and the recognition of Black contributions to society laid the foundation for a lasting legacy.
The journey continued through the 1950s and 1960s, marked by the Windrush generation’s arrival from the Caribbean. These individuals brought their rich culture, music, and traditions with them. It was a time of challenges, resilience, and unity as they faced adversity, leading to the emergence of a more inclusive Britain.
In 1987, the initiative to formally recognise Black History Month in the UK took shape. Ghanaian analyst Akyaaba Addai-Sebo played a pivotal role, dedicating his efforts to promoting Black history and culture through events and educational programmes. The aim was simple yet profound: to provide a platform for celebrating the achievements and contributions of Black people throughout history.
Today, Black History Month stands as a testament to Black communities across the UK. It is a month-long celebration of heritage, culture, and achievements, reminding us that diversity is the bedrock of British society.
As we commemorate this special month at the University of Roehampton, we invite you to explore the rich tapestry of Black history and culture. Join us in honouring the pioneers, artists, activists, and everyday heroes who have shaped our world. Let us embrace the diversity that enriches our campus and our nation, and together, let us strive for a more inclusive future.
In celebrating Black History Month, we celebrate the legacy of those who paved the way for change and acknowledge that our shared history is one of unity in diversity.