What is Black History Month?

What is Black History Month, why is Black History Month important to inclusive employers and how should your organisation participate?

We’ve got all the answers in this FAQ, scroll down to read more.

What is Black History Month?

For the entire month a wide range of events are held across the country celebrating African and Caribbean cultures and histories, including everything from food festivals to music workshops, educational seminars and lectures

When is Black History Month?

In the UK Black History Month takes place every October.

During the Thatcher era, following the Brixton, Tottenham and Toxteth riots Black Britons were experiencing high levels of marginalisation and racism. In response to this, Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, the Special Projects Officer at the Greater London Council coordinated the first official Black History Month event on 1 October 1987, with speaker Dr Maulana Karenga, the originator of Kwanzaa, the annual celebration of African American culture held from December 26 to January 1 in the US.

Since then, the popularity and breadth of celebrations has grown exponentially in to the widely celebrated national programme that we see today.

Why is Black History Month important?

Black History Month is an opportunity to start conversations about race. Conversations about race are important to have in the workplace because it supports an organisation’s anti-racism work and encourages a two-way dialogue and conversation about race between Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and White employees. This is important for building relationships, rapport and trust among colleagues.

What should businesses be doing for Black History Month?

To celebrate Black History month and support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues during this event, businesses can:

  • Take action to make workplaces a safe space for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues and customers e.g., review your policies and protections that affect these colleagues and customers.    
  • Host webinars. events and roundtables to raise awareness about Black History and why it is important to educate ourselves on this topic.
  • Promote the visibility of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people within the organisation by inviting these colleagues to share their experiences at meetings, events or webinars.  
  • Share resources with your colleagues to deepen their understanding of what it means to be anti-racist and how we can support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues. Inclusive Employers have resources like this that can be accessed in the member’s area for free as part of their membership.   

How can businesses plan for Black History Month?

  • Invite Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues, including any race networks, to discuss the event and share any objectives that could be achieved through the campaign.
  • Prepare a project plan and assign tasks to members of your team to help promote awareness of Black History Month
  • Members can download a copy of our Black History Month Toolkit for tips on what you may need to consider in your plans. Inclusive Employers members receive this resource for free as part of their membership. 
  • Purchase your copy of the Inclusive Employers’ anti-racism toolkit, Building anti-racist cultures: a toolkit for your workplace
  • Inclusive Employers members can contact their account manager for more support and guidance.