Black History Month

Black History Month

Black History Month has been celebrated widely for many years honouring the achievements, culture, and the history of black people.

In Southwark, Black History Month has been recognised for over 20 years with a month long programme of exciting and inspirational events and workshops. Every year throughout October people, schools, libraries, groups and organisations host events and get involved with the celebration of black history. You can view all the latest events in the Black History Month brochure (pdf, 3.4mb).

The history behind BHM

Black History Month (BHM) originated in the United States of America, where it is celebrated in February each year.

It started in 1926 when Carter G Woodson, editor for thirty years of the Journal of Negro History, established African Caribbean celebrations in America. Its purpose in America was to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of African Americans in keeping alive their heritage, traditions and histories.

In Britain, Black History Month was first celebrated in October 1987 as part of African Jubilee Year.

The decision to make this an annual event each October was supported by the Association of London Authorities. It has since grown to recognise and embrace the contributions and traditions of other black communities.

Here in Southwark, the council and a large number of community organisations and individuals have been organising Black History Month events for over 20 years.

Black History Month events recognise the rich cultural diversity and heritage of our communities and help to celebrate the huge achievements of black people and their lives in Southwark over the centuries. A history that has made Southwark the diverse, dynamic and exciting place it is today.

Special Baby and Toddler Sessions in Southwark Libraries

Join us for stories and crafts that celebrate Black History Month this October. Our baby and toddler sessions are aimed at pre-school children and their parents or carers. Each session includes storytelling, songs, simple crafts and activities designed to stimulate young minds.

Community grants for BHM events

There is a long standing commitment to continue offering the community a vibrant selection of events and activities through programmes that provide insight into the history and culture of the African, Caribbean and diaspora communities.

We offer a number of small grants of up to £500 to enable smaller community celebrations of Black History to take place. For larger, more complicated events we also offer larger grants of up to £2,000.

The deadline has now passed for the 2017 grants scheme, but you can find out more about the application process for next year by viewing or downloading the following documents:

Last updated: 16 October 2017