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Black History Month 2018

This year you can subscribe to our newsletter to receive a special Black History Month email series – once a week during October subscribers to our newsletter mailing list will get emails with a specific focus on promoting and celebrating Black history.

These emails will include blogs, books, quotes, podcasts, videos, and events that we hope will get you thinking, help you learn more, and start conversations. Each email includes only six recommendations, to make it more manageable for you to engage with some (or all) of the content. Even better, everything listed in each email is freely available online or from Warwick’s library.

If there is something you’d like to see included in a future email, or you’ve got questions or comments about these emails, get in touch at equality at warwick dot ac dot uk.


Below you can find all the content from the emails sent out so far:


Akala (March 2015) Sometimes, Knowledge is Power 2 “Inspiration is the strangest thing, How it travels one spirit to another, transforms how we think”

For more music, have a look at this blog from last year Black History 365, 30 British Black Music Albums To Mark African History Month @ 30 For more from Akala, have a look at Akala (2018) Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire



Patrick Vernon, The Voice (October 2013) Origins of Black History Month in Britain

Social activist, commentator, and former Labour Councillor Patrick Vernon OBE describes how October came to be Black History Month in the UK, and how it differs from the month in America (which is celebrated in February).


Linda Bellos (October 2017) I’m Proud of Britain’s Black History Month. But Now It Needs a Rethink

A key founder of Black History Month in the UK, Linda Bellos talks about the original thinking behind the creation of Black History Month and how it “provided an opportunity to show a history we knew existed but which had been hidden”, and reflects that it was a mistake to not try to “steer or control” the month.


Molly Tresadern, Art UK (November 2016) Ten Black British Artists to Celebrate

“Sometimes the nation’s art can seem overwhelmingly white – both in subject and artist. Here at Art UK we want to share with you some of our favourite black and British artists from the nation’s art collection”.


Emma Dabiri, for BBC (2016) 15 Great Black Britons Who Made History

“The story of black Britain is the story of Britain itself. For almost two millennia, black people have been born, lived and died here… Here are just a few of the pioneers and trailblazers who deserve our recognition”.



Don John, TEDxSouthampton (January 2017) Black History Matters

In this TedTalk, Don John talks about his life working to identify, address and confront racism, to explore why Black history matters.



David Olusoga (2017) Black and British: A Forgotten History

“In this vital re-examination of a shared history, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga tells the rich and revealing story of the long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa and the Caribbean”. A documentary series was also created for the BBC, unfortunately this is no longer available on iPlayer but can be seen on YouTube (although the video quality is quite poor)


Sam Selvon (2006) The Lonely Londoners

“Both devastating and funny, The Lonely Londoners is an unforgettable account of immigrant experience - and one of the great twentieth-century London novels”. This edition includes an introduction by Professor of Modern Literature at the Open University, Susheila Nasta. If you want to learn more about the book, the Open University offer a free online course on The Lonely Londoners, which you can access at


Lisa Palmer and Kehinde Andrews (Eds) (2016) Blackness in Britain

This book “begins to map the field of Black Studies scholarship from a British context, by collating new and established voices from scholars writing about Blackness in Britain. Split into five parts, it examines: Black studies and the challenge of the Black British intellectual; Revolution, resistance and state violence; Blackness and belonging; Exclusion and inequality in education; Experiences of Black women and the gendering of Blackness in Britain”.


Andrea Levy (2010) The Long Song

“The child of a field slave on the Amity sugar plantation in Jamaica, July lives with her mother until Mrs. Caroline Mortimer, a recently transplanted English widow, decides to move her into the great house and rename her "Marguerite." Together they live through the bloody Baptist War and the violent and chaotic end of slavery. An extraordinarily powerful story”. The BBC recently announced that they will be making a three-part adaptation of the book, at present dates haven’t been announced for when the series will air so keep an eye out for it later this year/early next year. If you want to read Andrea’s other books Every Light in the House Burnin', Never far From Nowhere, Fruit of the Lemon, and Small Island are all available from the Library.


Robert A. Hill Eds (2016) The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers

“This is the first volume in a monumental ten-volume survey of thirty thousand archival documents and original manuscripts from widely separated sources, brought together by editor Robert A. Hill to provide a compelling picture of the evolution, spread, and influence of the UNIA. Letters, pamphlets, vital records, intelligence reports, newspaper articles, speeches, legal records, and diplomatic dispatches are enhanced by Hill's descriptive source notes, explanatory footnotes, and comprehensive introduction. And if you want more on Marcus Garvey, have a look at Robert A. Hill and Barbara Bair Eds (1987) Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons: A Centennial Companion to the Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Movement Association Papers “A collection of autobiographical and philosophical works produced by Garvey in the period from his imprisonment in Atlanta to his death in London in 1940”.



BBC (November 2015) Raising the Bar: 100 Years of Black British Theatre and Screen

“Lenny Henry presents a series of programmes tracing a century of black British theatre and screen”.



Black History 365, Black History Month Heroes

See also specific pages on Sporting Heroes and The Black Heroes of Science


100 Great Black Britons

In 2003, the ‘100 Great Black Britons’ campaign was launched, with nurse and entrepreneur Mary Seacole being voted number one. You can read biographies of Mary Seacole and the other 99 Great Black Britons on the 100 Great Black Britons website. In 2017, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Black History Month, 100 Great Black Britons was relaunched by Patrick Vernon, who said “We hope that once more, 100 Great Black Britons will provide role models to black communities, and also emphasise that the history and achievements of black Britons are an integral part of our shared heritage in this country” (results will be announced today, 1 October 2018).


Black History 365, Black History Firsts

This webpage hosts a range of blogs on historic ‘firsts’, like Bishop Wilfred Wood, the Church of England’s first black Bishop; Diane Abbott, the first black woman to be elected to the House of Commons; Sislin Fay Allen, Britain’s First Black Policewoman, and Frank Bailey, London’s First Black Firefighter.



Warwick Library (1-31 October) Looking Back at Black history in Britain: A Sample from the Collections.

For Black History Month, the Library has selected material from the Ethnicity and Migration collection and the MRC’s Minority Art’s holdings. This exhibit (in the Floor 1 Display Case) celebrates the Black communities and activists who rose up to provide support, refuge and carnival in the face of systematic racial injustice and persecution. It simultaneously highlights, through contemporary journals, reports and images the discrimination, hostility and violence which fuelled Black resistance and determination for equality throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.


Warwick Arts Centre (18 October) Abdullah Ibrahim

“Any performance from Cape Town’s jazz hero is a journey through a lifetime’s experience; the musical melting pot of his upbringing (gospel and jive, American jazz and classical music, sacred and secular) and the music of his jazz heroes (Ellington and Coltrane amongst them) all skilfully embroidered by his free-flowing piano invention. His intimate solo show – unamplified – draws us ever closer as his distinctive brand of exquisite, meditative tranquillity encircles us”.


Belgrade Theatre Coventry (22 October) Black, Radical and Proud

“Join us for a conversation about Black Activism”, with Dr Kehinde Andrews and Esther Stanford-Xosei.

Middle East and North Africa Reading Group (24 October)

“Calling out all postgraduate students and staff interested in the study of the Middle East and North Africa region. Whether your research is centered on the MENA region or if you simply have an interest in it, you are welcome to join this new reading group which aims to foster a wide variety of discussions relevant to the study of the region amongst postgraduate students in an informal and friendly setting. The plan is to meet on a biweekly basis starting from Week 2 in Term 1, and the discussion material could include novels, short stories, films, academic articles, etc.”. For more information, contact Nadeen Dakkak on


Warwick Arts Centre (24 October) The Robert Cray Band

“Considered one of the greatest guitarists of his generation, Cray’s soulful and creative guitar work has been a dominant force in blues for over forty years, widely recognised and acknowledged by peers and audiences alike”.


Warwick University (26 October, 12 - 2pm) Professor Gus John: What Should Black History Month Mean Today?

Professor Gus John is a renowned activist and academic who has been working in education, youth work and social justice since the 1960s. On Friday 26 October, Professor John will speak at Warwick on what Black History Month should mean today. Last year was the 30th anniversary of Black History Month in the UK, and we’re now in a time of, on the one hand, growing movements on decolonising curricula, mobilising the global African diaspora, and reparatory justice, and on the other hand, the resurgence of fascism in Europe. This talk will explore this subject and the implications for the Higher Education sector and Black History Month more broadly. We are thrilled to be hosting Gus for what promises to be an engaging and enlightening discussion. This event is open to all staff and students as well as external guests, and we hope as many people as possible are able to attend this fantastic event. For more information go to


You can find all the details of upcoming events from the Student Union at You can also find more event listings for the West Midlands at



Professor Gus John: What Should Black History Month Mean Today? - Friday 26 October, 12 - 2pm.

Submit a question for Prof John here.


Want to tell others about this? Download this poster and digital slide to display in your department.