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Black History Month: is 31 days enough?

Black history did not just start in recent years
Black History Month has been acknowledged since the 1980s in the UK. Source: AlissaK_17 (Via Pixabay)

By Vicky Witts | Head of Comment

October brings with it connotations of colder weather, Halloween, and more importantly, Black history.

Black History Month was first celebrated in the UK in 1987, and since then it has annually motivated people to educate and be educated about monumental events, achievements, and people in black history.

More recently, with movements such as Black Lives Matter, the month has also been used as an opportunity to raise awareness about the discrimination faced in recent years by ethnic minority groups, both in the UK and globally.

Although the month has only been celebrated in the UK since the 1980s, black history is not new, and has had thousands of milestones that are not commonly discussed in the school curriculum or on news outlets.

This clearly introduces an important question. Is focusing on black history for only 31 days of the year really enough, or should there be more of a push to encourage education within all aspects of our society?

On one hand, an increased drive for education on black history every October specifically, does mean that the information being supplied on the news and online outlets are in high concentration, and so more easily accessible.

News outlets such as the BBC, as well as individual companies and influencers on social media platforms like Instagram, typically compile throughout the month, many different resources, fact files, and recommendations for books and films, with the hopes of better educating their audiences around topics of black history.

For those looking to better educated themselves on the matter easily, a month solely based on black history is clearly particularly useful.

However, the argument against condensing black history education down to just one month is equally as compelling.

Focusing all efforts of black history education into one month may ignore the wider issue: that we as a society are not doing enough to make black history common knowledge.

Some have argued that perhaps, alongside the month, there should be a push to include more black history as part of primary and secondary school curriculum, so that children are being educated on racial issues of the past and present in more detail, and at a younger age.

The Black Curriculum, a social enterprise created in 2019, is just one of many groups looking to improve the amount of Black British history being taught within the UK curriculum, by running workshops, offering teacher training, and providing online resources to schools.

Regardless of what the ‘correct’ approach is for black history education, it is clear that it is vital for a more inclusive future.

Victoria Witts Comment

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