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  • Eleanor Smith

Black History Month

Black History Month takes place during October and aims to share, celebrate, and build an understanding of the impact of black heritage and culture. The event originated in America in the 1920s, and was first celebrated in the UK in 1987.

The first Black History Month in the UK was organised by Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, who came from Ghana as a refugee in 1984. It was celebrated on the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean.

The theme of this year’s Black History Month is “Celebrating Our Sisters” – commemorations will feature trailblazing women who have made incredible contributions to all areas of society, for example, Claudia Jones – a journalist and anti-racism activist. She founded the West Indian Gazette, the first black newspaper to appear on newsstands in Britain, and the Notting Hill Carnival, an idea to bring Caribbean Carnival to London. She has recently been awarded a Blue Plaque at her house in Vauxhall for her contributions to the community. Gus Casely-Hayford, a broadcaster and cultural historian, said, “Culture-whether music, art, or dance – will always provide opportunity to open minds and drive change and Claudia saw this better than anyone.” Currently, only 4.6% of Blue Plaques are dedicated to black and Asian figures.

As part of the celebrations, Black History Month will include a national poetry competition, inviting young people to express themselves creatively whilst discovering the diverse experiences of black women.

The theme is centred around pioneers, and how they have inspired you in your daily life. This could be someone famous, or someone you know. The top 32 poems in the competition will be printed in publication. Entries must be submitted by 15th November 2023. If you would like to apply, please follow the link below.

As part of Black History Month at Leventhorpe, the diversity and inclusion group are running a series of events aiming to educate and celebrate black history. These include school events like assemblies, and extracurricular events like film clubs. They want to amplify the voices of others and share stories, as well as signpost other events happening throughout the year.

Poetry Competition Application:

To find out more, visit:

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