|The Other Side Of African/Black History Month|
|By: Awula Serwah & Kwaku|
First published on Ligali.org on 12 September 2011
Awula Serwah & Kwaku reflect on the challenges and progressive way forward for African history Month in the UK.
We have mixed feelings when we hear or read that some councils are reluctant to celebrate African/Black History Month (A/BHM). Why? Because much of what’s put out as A/BHM fare is often devoid of history. It often entertains but seldom increases knowledge of African history. So for example, we did not join the bandwagon last year demanding that London Mayor Boris Johnson reinstates his massively slashed A/BHM budget. But on the other hand, we did not oppose those who were campaigning for the budget to be re-instated.
It is unfortunate that some A/BHM events focus on enslavement, as if our history starts with enslavement and that there are no other worthy stories to be explored. Others simply regurgitate information on the “usual suspects” - Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and now President Obama, etc., overlooking what has happened in Britain.
Click to find out about the NARM (Naming And Role Model) African British Civil Rights History BHM 2011 events across London
* Press release following Cllr June Nelson A/BHM motion, which was defeated in Hillingdon Council, issued by the Labour Group Office:
At the full council meeting on Thursday 8th September Cllr June Nelson gave an impassioned speech in moving a Labour Motion calling for the Council to re-instate October as Black History Month. This is because the internationally recognised Black History Month has, for the past few years, been renamed in Hillingdon to “Hillingdon History Month” and the commemoration and celebration of the achievements of African people has been watered down considerably.
During the debate Cllr John Major highlighted the flawed thinking of the Tory group be illustrating that throughout the year there are a number of days and weeks dedicated to one particular group or another, but none of these are at the exclusion of others, but they serve to focus attention on that particular group or issue, so that everyone understands and that any myths or fears of what makes us different are dispelled.
“The flawed thinking of the Tory group is exactly what creates tensions and issues amongst our community. The renaming of “Black History Month” to “Hillingdon History Month” on the basis that it includes all residents and not just the Black ones amounts to the same as renaming “Christmas” to “Hillingdon Winter Festival” on the basis that it will include all residents and not just the Christian ones.
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