From Maya Angelou To Mandela: October Is Black History Month

James Drury
By James Drury Last edited 35 months ago
From Maya Angelou To Mandela: October Is Black History Month

British Nigerian playwright Gbolahan Obisesan's work, How Nigeria Became: A Story, and A Spear That Didn’t Work, commemorates the centenary of Nigeria as part of Black History Month at the Unicorn Theatre.

October is Black History Month, featuring a packed programme of events and activities celebrating the contribution of African and Caribbean people to the richness of British life, as well as championing and promoting knowledge of the history and cultures of black and ethnic minorities. There's far too much to list here, so we've picked a few of our highlights. There's a full programme on the website.

Southwark Council has a huge variety of events including talks poetry, activities for children, food and film. 100 Years of Black Music in the Capital will chart the growth of black music since it arrived in the UK around the time of the First World War. The centenary of Nigeria's creation is celebrated at the Unicorn Theatre, with the play, How Nigeria Became: A Story, And A Spear That Didn't Work.  There's also a chance to make delicious food and share poetry at CoolTan Arts, mental distress charity centre in Elephant and Castle.

From theatre to talks, Enfield has a wide range of activities, including a concert by Mobo-winning saxophonist YolanDa Brown and a trumpet performance dedicated to John Blanke, a black musician who performed for Henry VIII in the 16th Century.

There's a lot of film content in Islington, ranging from Young Soul Rebels, which won the Cannes Critics’ Week prize, to documentary Black Power Mixtape, which is followed by a Q&A discussion on black feminism. There's also a photo exhibition and a discussion on the life of Henry Muoria, who contributed heavily to the Kenyan anti-colonial movement and lived for years in the borough.

Among a varied programme in Hackney, there's a chance for kids to get to grips with Caribbean musical instruments at Shoreditch Library, a celebration of the life of Maya Angelou, and a chance to learn to dance The Charleston (which developed within black communities in the US before going international in the 1920s).

Many events around the capital will focus on the life and work of Nelson Mandela, including an exhibition at Bruce Castle Museum in Haringey. The borough also hosts a series of events focussing on black business leaders and entrepreneurs, including Q&A sessions and advice. There's also a presentation on black scientists and inventors from the UK.

Black History Month takes place across the UK in October. Many events are free but some are paid and others require pre-booking.

Last Updated 07 October 2014

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