Of all the things Brits can be proud of - great roasts, telephones, Shakespeare - the African Slave Trade is most definitely not one of them. Fortunately, it was abolished 200 years ago, which for the record is 41 years up on our neighbours, the French (well, actually they abolished it before us, but then decided to re-instate it until 1848).
To mark this momentious occasion and indeed achievements of the black community in general, Black History Month is being celebrated all across the UK this precise October.
Black History Month was first established in the US in 1976, although its roots stretch as far back as 1926 when American historian Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week. The concept took hold in the UK ten years ago and has subsequently extended its scope to cover a plethora of activities for a plethora of minority groups.
The month has recently been mired by controversy. In its infancy, the week/month was part of a larger backlash by African-Americans against a population who sidelined them. However, many believe that within the modern context, it is counter-productive to designate an entire month exclusively to race. Others argue though that it is a highly valued component of the ongoing fight for equal rights.
Whatever your opinion, there are certainly some interesting line-ups in London this year. Here's just a few highlights:
1) From 4th October, the Dominion Arts Education Centre on The Green, Southall, will host the Bicentenary of the Abolition of The Slave Trade. This photographic exhibition is dedicated to depicting the everyday lives of slaves.
2) On 6th October, 2pm-4pm, Southell Library on the Green, Southell, will conduct a workshop centred around offering people the chance to learn more about the Carribbean and Africa.
3) On 21st October, 11am, a service to commemorate the abolition of the trade will take place at Acton Hill Methodist Church, Uxbridge Road.
Photo from mikemariano's flickr photostream