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The importance of celebrating Black History

Posted: October 13 2020

Samantha , Sociology

Hello, my name is Samantha and I am currently in my third year and studying Sociology at Brunel University London which is both exciting and yet terribly nerve racking as I remember being a fresher like... yesterday. But that’s not all, I’m also a Widening Access Student Ambassador at the university.

What does Black History mean to me?

Black History Month to me means an opportunity to educate one another on Black History. Black history is a very broad topic and includes the history of the African diaspora all over the entire world, imagine how many different histories that is? The history of those individual cultures is limitless. Black History Month means we get to dedicate time to learn about the history of specific culture/s.

The importance of celebrating Black History

Much of Black History has been minimalised to events such as slavery and the civil rights movement, which of course did occur, but Black History definitely existed before the transatlantic slave trade. Unfortunately, the curriculum in schools tends to heavily focus on these events, so people tend to view Black History within that scope. The importance of celebrating Black History is massive, not only does this give people the opportunity to educate themselves on this phenomena but it creates an environment of participation – for those who do not identify themselves as being part of “black culture” engaging with the various activities that take place during October may help in bridging a gap that may exist in knowledge and understanding of Black culture. Lastly, Black History should be celebrated (every day if you can)! It is an entanglement of various beautiful cultures across the Black diaspora.

Moving on to the next topic of discussion...

My feelings on Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter, I believe is a revolutionary movement of our time. The BLM movement has portrayed the inequality that still persists in our societies towards the black body and I believe this movement has highlighted to a lot of people what this may look like. It is important though that people understand that the BLM movement is to show people that black people are equal to all people and that race should not be used as a tool of oppression and the justification of inequality, police brutality, or inequality of resource allocation and opportunities. So, my overall feelings towards BLM? I believe it is a movement that is necessary and should be completely supported.

Have any figures in Black History inspired you?

Yes, I am particularly fond of W.E.B Dubois, who is said to be the first African American Sociologist. I have read a lot of his academic work and have even taken it upon myself to visit the W.E.B Dubois Centre in Accra, Ghana where he died. W.E.B Dubois’ was a fundamental part in the school of thought of Pan-Africanism and was a dear friend of Kwame Nkrumah who adopted and applied Pan Africanism to seek Ghana’s independence.

Secondly, Yaa Asantewaa and a group of other women lead the famous war known as the War of the Golden Stool in 1900. This was a quest to overthrow British rule in the Asante Kingdom. It was unheard of at the time for women to go to war! Totally defying patriarchy which is also a plus here. Unfortunately, she was captured and forced to exile in Seychelles. Nevertheless, Yaa Asantewaa’s impact is still felt in Ghana and celebrated.

How am I celebrating Black History Month?

Food, and loads of it – eating traditional Ghanaian dishes. Literature- currently reading Angela Y. Davis – Women, class and race (I would highly recommend). Lastly, I celebrate Black History every day, as a black woman, I acknowledge the importance of my culture, my heritage – my history in shaping my identity, how can I not celebrate that?

Thank you so much for reading if you’ve made it this far!