Embracing cultural diversity is something we at the University of Suffolk pride ourselves on. This month marks Black History Month in the UK, and we are here to educate ourselves and our students on the importance of racial equality.
Celebrated for more than 30 years now, Black History Month was founded to recognise the contributions that individuals of African and Caribbean heritage have made to the UK over many generations (BBC, 2020). However, Black History Month now incorporates those from all ethnic backgrounds, including Black British and Black American people. Though celebrated from the 1920s in America, the UK’s celebration was largely the result of local community activism, which challenged racism within British society and the Eurocentric vision of history that dominated the curriculum (UoB, 2021). Over the years, the focus of Black History Month has expanded from regional history to global experiences, incorporating those of African, Asian, and Caribbean heritage.
Regarding the teaching of Black History in schools, it traditionally focuses on and celebrates Eurocentric experiences. These western narratives often reproduce racist stereotypes that dismiss the importance of Black experiences. One initiative that successfully undermines racial inequality within educational institutions is called The Black Curriculum. Founded in 2019 by Lavinya Stennett, the project seeks to highlight the importance of Black British history through the re-imagination of Black narratives. Striving to ‘eradicate racial inequality in the classroom’ (Arday, 2021, p. 3), the initiative increases cultural competency amongst all students regardless of race, identity, sexuality etc. Therefore, the recognition of Black History Month gives the opportunity for society to celebrate black heritage and culture, widening their perspective of the multi-ethnic society of the UK. Furthermore, by addressing these racial inequalities within our education systems, we can create an inclusive school experience that celebrates diversity.
At the University, we are very keen to diversify ourselves, so if you have any ideas of how to do so, please get in touch with us. In the meantime, here are some very useful links that address the importance of Black History in society:
Evening & Weekend Assistant
Arday, J. (2021) The black curriculum. Black British history in the national curriculum. London: The Black Curriculum. Available at:
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5f5507a237cea057c5f57741/t/5fc10c7abc819f1cf4fd0eeb/1606487169011/TBC+2021++Report.pdf (Accessed: 28 September 2021).
BBC (2020) Black History Month 2020: What is it? Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/49883230 (Accessed: 24 September 2021).
University of Birmingham (2021) About Black History Month. Available at: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/culture/events/blackhistory/about.aspx (Accessed: 28 September 2021).