University to celebrate Black History Month

University to celebrate Black History Month

The University of Aberdeen will celebrate Black History Month throughout October.

A diverse programme of events, blogs, podcasts and talks will provide opportunities for the community to engage with the objectives of the UK celebration – to dig deeper, look closer, think bigger.

The UK’s Black History Month in October celebrates the extraordinary contributions that black people have made in the UK and beyond. Black History Month was initiated by historian Cater G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of African Life and History (ASALH) in 1926 in the US to promote the study of Black history and acknowledge achievements of black people. It is now observed across the world and continues to inspire new generations of people. 

The 2020 programme is a co-production involving the University’s Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Forum, students and staff and represents partners from the Law School, WORD Centre, AFC, Department of Music, Museums and Special Collections, Department of History, Student Experience and Race Equality Network and Race and Racism Group (RRG).

Highlights include emerging young poet and spoken word artist Jayda David, who will lead a spoken word workshop with themes varying from Identity to Black British History to Mental Health and everything in-between, and critically acclaimed Zimbabwean author, Tendai Huchu who will lead a discussion giving a glimpse into Zimbabwean identity to texturise the celebration of diverse Black identities.

The achievements of Black students who shaped the University’s past will be highlighted including Nathaniel King (MB 1876), the first African-born graduate of the University, and Christopher James Davis, a remarkable Aberdeen-trained doctor credited with saving hundreds of lives during the Franco-Prussian War.

The BAME Forum has also created a Black Business Registry in support of Black Pound Day. 

Annie Wilson, President of the University’s BAME Forum said: "Black History Month is a crucial time to educate and inform non-Black British people on the many rich cultures that encompass Blackness. The events and content that we will be delivering will showcase this. We hope that others will do their part by sharing, donating where possible and supporting Black businesses."

Professor George Boyne, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “Black History Month provides an important platform to celebrate the extraordinary contributions that Black people have made to both our University and the wider world.

“The diversity of our community is what makes the University the wonderful institution that it is today. We are delighted to be able to welcome virtually so many new and engaging voices to our celebrations which have been co-created by our student and staff communities.

“Black History Month is an important part of our commitment to racial equality but this must continue well beyond October and we are striving to ensure our curriculum is inclusive and to play our role in tackling the national attainment gap linked to race and ethnicity.”

The University’s Black History Month celebrations have also been supported by the Development Trust Student Experience Fund, the Directorate of People and Directorate of External Relations.

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