As part of Black History Month 2019, we hosted an event with writer, poet, and director Elmi Ali called ‘The Afrofuturist Toolkit’. During the workshop the participants explored the theories behind Afrofuturism and created some of their own work envisioning the future of society. Ali’s overarching message was that Afrofuturism can take any form and is all around us, demanding a space in the future for Black people defined by themselves. “It looks to the past to define and make sense of the future.” According to Ali, ‘ism’ can be understood to mean “how something could be”.
By Hannah This post is a bit overdue, but back in October we teamed up with the BAME Staff Network at the University of Manchester to run a speaker and discussion event titled ’30 Years of Black History Month: Where … Continue reading →
Although BHM has a distinctly cultural flavour, it has always been about education. Back in 1987 Akyaaba Addai-Sebo explained that October had been chosen as the UK’s BHM because in Africa it is traditionally a time of plenty, of reconciliation and of bequeathing wealth and knowledge to the next generation. This coincides nicely with the start of the British school year, when children’s ‘minds are refreshed and revitalised, so they can take in a lot of instruction’. Quite right.
Source: David from Washington, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The education of children was at the heart of the work of Carter G Woodson (1875 – 1950), the so-called ‘Father of Black History’ and founder of Negro History Week, the precursor to today’s US and UK Black History Months. Continue reading →
“Write for 5 minutes without stopping”, she said, and the stopwatch started. Easy-peasy, I thought. I can certainly talk for 5 minutes without stopping. The paper began to fill with my ramblings, but as the minutes ticked on my wrist started to ache and my brain began to freeze. I glanced around the table at the other workshop participants, each lost in his or her own thoughts and writing. They were a diverse group, in age, race and gender, brought together by one woman’s words.
There is a tendency to see the history of Black people in Britain as a 20th Century history, and certainly the post-war period saw a large number of West Indian (not to mention African, Asian, European) migrants arrive here, what we call the ‘Windrush Generation’. And this period is the focus of our own archive – a repository for recent histories and living memories.
But a trip to the Lancashire Archives (for a CILIP Black History day school) has really put this into perspective for me.
So here we are. It’s Black History Month. It’s 50 years since the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. It’s 50 years (give or take a few) since many African countries gained independence. So why, I hear you ask, talk about a dead white guy?
Well, Basil Davidson is no ordinary dead white guy (if any dead white guy is ordinary). Writer, activist, spy, guerrilla fighter, academic, great explorer, media star – you name it, he did it. Without him would there have been any Black History Month as we know it today? Now there’s a question.