Why is Black History Month in October? When month is marked in the UK - and why the date differs from the US

Black History Month was launched in the UK in 1980s, largely the result of local community activism which challenged racism insociety

Black History Month takes place between 1 and 31 October every year, celebrating the heritage and culture of black people, and their contribution to British society.

The event was officially recognised by the US government in 1976, and then first celebrated in the UK in 1987.

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The celebration aims to promote and celebrate Black contributions to British society, as well as fostering an understanding of Black history in general.

But just why is it held in October?

Here is everything you need to know.

What is Black History Month?

Black History Month has now become an important date in the cultural calendar of many museums, galleries and local authorities in the UK.

The focus of Black History Month has also expanded its coverage over the years to include the history of African, Asian and Caribbean peoples and their contribution to Britain.

Why is Black History Month held in October?

Black History Month’s origins go back to the 1920s in the United States, and an event which then evolved into Black History Month and is still marked every February.

This month was chosen in the United States because of the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass - the African-American social reformer - and President Abraham Lincoln.

In the UK, Black History Month was launched in the 1980s in London and was largely the result of local community activism which challenged racism in British society.

It is celebrated in October in the UK, partly because when it was first celebrated in 1987, it tied in with African Jubilee Year.

Then on 1 October, Dr Maulana Karenga - a professor of Africana studies, activist, and author - from the US was invited to an event at London’s County Hall to mark the contributions of Black people throughout history.

The first year of its celebration also saw Black History Month coincidentally fall on the 150th anniversary of Caribbean emancipation, the centenary of the birth of Jamaican political activist Marcus Garvey, and the 25th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity, an institution dedicated to advancing the progress of African states.

What’s happening for Black History Month 2021?

There are a wide range of events taking place across the UK for Black History Month 2021.

To find what’s going on in your area, search for Black History Month events in your nearest town or city.

There is also a Black History Month resource pack which includes posters and educational material for those teaching it in schools.

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