Black History Month Events 2020


Their Democracy and Ours: Angela Davis in Conversation with Astra Taylor (Haymarket Books and Jacobin)
Tuesday 14 October, 12:30 – 2am (BST)
From the organisers: “Building on the insights of Astra Taylor’s award-winning film, “What is Democracy?”, renowned activist and writer Angela Davis and journalist, film-maker and activist Astra Taylor discuss what we can and should do now in this time of unprecedented crisis, but also of opportunity. One of the main questions—how can a diverse coalition of activists young and old work together to map a path forward? Introduced by David Palumbo-Liu (Stanford), with questions from the audience moderated by Bhaskar Sunkara (Jacobin).”
Suggested donation $5 (approx £3.88), free for those on low incomes. Register here.

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Black History Month 
Various events throughout October
The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham are running a number of interesting online sessions about Black history, including a presentations about Windrush Day, African history before the slave trade and Black couples who made history.
FREE. More info here.

Black Power Leaders & Liberators Children Workshops
Various dates
From the organisers: “Make History come to life with these Sankofa Sunday ‘Black Power: Great Black Leaders & Liberators’ children workshops led by Charmaine Simpson of Black History Studies. With its emphasis on Black racial identity, pride and self-determination, Black Power influenced everything from popular culture to education to politics. These workshops will inspire young people to learn about great leaders and liberators who contributed to world history.”
Aimed at children aged 8 – 16.
£5. More info here.

The Sounds of Croydon: From Samuel Coleridge-Taylor to Stormzy (PAST FUTURES)
Available 1 October – 31 December
From the organisers: “Croydon based organisation, PAST FUTURES is launching an online exhibition titled ‘The Sounds of Croydon: From Samuel Coleridge-Taylor to Stormzy’ on October 1st to mark the start of Black History Month in the UK. The exhibition led by Croydon resident and Head Curator Micha Nestor, will follow the journey of Croydon’s most influential musicians, celebrating the history of Croydon’s global influence on music over the last 120 years, from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor to Stormzy.”
FREE. Explore here.


HER STORY by Latifat Obanigba 
Available 4 October – 3 November 2020
From the organisers: “A collection of paintings by emerging artist Latifat Obanigba for Black History Month celebrating and paying tribute to black women breaking barriers and creating history. Telling their story of strength, resilience and growth through adversity and reclaiming their queendom in modern society.”
FREE. Explore here.

An evening with Jeffrey Boakye 
Wednesday 21 October, 6pm (BST)
From the organisers: “In this exclusive Black History Month event Jeffrey Boakye, author of Black, Listed: Black British Culture Explored, will join Dr Fraser Mann, Senior Lecturer in Literature at York St John University, for a challenging and insightful dialogue surrounding issues of racism and social justice. Jeffrey will examine the positioning and perception of black identity in a postcolonial society, as well as the nuances of institutional racism and subconscious bias. Jeffrey Boakye is a writer and teacher originally from Brixton, London. He has a particular interest in issues surrounding education, race and popular culture. He is the author of Hold Tight: Black Masculinity, Millennials, and the Meaning of Grime and Black, Listed: Black British Culture Explored. His next book, I Heard What You Said, is an exploration of race in education. Jeffrey lives in Yorkshire with his wife and two sons.”
FREE. Register here.

Humanities Cultural Programme Live Event: Talking Afropean (University of Oxford)
Thursday 22 October, 5 – 6pm (BST)
From the organisers: “Talking Afropean: Johny Pitts in conversation with Elleke Boehmer and Simukai Chigudu about his award-winning book. This Writers Make Worlds and TORCH panel discussion features the author Johny Pitts in conversation about his ground-breaking travelogue Afropean, his 2019 notes on a journey around contemporary Black Europe. Johny Pitts will explore together with Oxford academics Simukai Chigudu and Elleke Boehmer questions of black history, hidden archives, decolonisation and community, and what it is to be black in Europe today. Hailed as a work that reframes Europe, Afropean was the 2020 winner of the Jhalak Prize.”FREE. More info here.

Lecture with Margaret Casely – Hayford, CBE: Diversity Activism: to do or not to do? (University of Oxford)
Thursday 22 October, 6.30 – 8pm (BST)
From the organisers: “Some say that activist movements like BLM and the Women’s Equality movements are counter-productive. Are they? Margaret Casely-Hayford, CBE, is a British lawyer, business woman and public figure who is active in the public sector. She was appointed to the Chair of Shakespeare’s Globe and Chancellor of Coventry University in 2018. Casely-Hayford has had a distinguished career in law as a Director of Legal Services and Company Secretary for John Lewis Partnership following on from 20 years with a City law firm.”
FREE. Register here.

Cheryl Martin presents One Woman (HOME MCR) 
Saturday 24 October, 7pm (BST)
From the organisers: “One Woman is an hypnotic dreamscape, in which the audience, through binaural sound, is drawn inside the mind of a woman who grew up with severe depression and BPD as she tries to find the answer to who she was, how she came to be that person, who she might have been, and who she is now.  The audience is taken right to the heart of the most difficult memories, but in an allusive rather than hit-you-on-the-head-with-it kind of way; a way that ultimately transcends the past and points the way to different future, one in which the memories lose their grip, and with that loss, the power of the abuser fades. The images, both verbal and visual, are beautiful.  The binaural sound, which wraps around each audience member individually in a protective cocoon, allows the audience to interact with the material on their own terms, while accessibility is built into the film by artistically organic text. Cheryl will accompany the film with an introductory talk and a Q&A session.”
FREE. Book here.

The Black Mirror: Representations of race in the horror film (HOME MCR)
Thursday 29 October, 6pm (GMT)
From the organisers: “For most of film history, Black actors have appeared in horror films in supporting roles. Many were deeply problematic. Now, rather than simply including Black characters, many of these films are created by, star or focus on Black people, life and culture. Coinciding with Halloween and Film Fear, Esther Lisk-Carew will be joined by Adam Murray and Liz Chege to discuss the history of Black horror and the portrayal of Black people within the genre.”
Pay what you can. Book here. HOME MCR have loads of other interesting BHM events, check them out here.

In person

Photography Exhibition by Garfield McKenzie – Bristol
Throughout October, November and December
From the organisers: “The set of portraits in this exhibition make visible a generation of intrepid individuals, who left their homeland to make the journey to a new life. These elders paved the way for the generations of black British communities living in the UK today. Bristol-based artist and photographer Garfield McKenzie has documented these pioneers as a way to pay respect and show admiration.”
Price unknown. More info here.

Family History Archive Surgery – Huddersfield 
Every weekday in October 2020 except Wednesday
From the organisers: “Are you interested in finding out more about your past, or the history of your family, your street or community? Then we’d love to help you at the archive service! At West Yorkshire Archive Service Kirklees we hold the records of local councils, schools, churches, businesses, social clubs, societies, families and much more. Contact us now to arrange your free archive surgery and we’ll help you discover archives that relate to you, your family and your local area.
FREE. Book a place over the phone (0113 535 0150) or email [email protected]. More info here.

Leeds City Council’s Black History Month – Leeds
Various dates
Leeds City Council is running a number of events both online and in person, including a Leeds Black History walk, to celebrate the city’s Black heritage.
FREE. More info here.

Zanele Muholi at the Tate Modern – Bankside, London
5 November 2020 – 7 March 2021
This one starts just after the end of Black History Month, but it’s worth including as it’s first major UK survey of this visual activist. From the early 2000s, they have documented and celebrated the lives of South Africa’s black lesbian, gay, trans, queer and intersex communities.
Free for members or £13. More info here.


Windrush: Portrait of a Generation, A photo-story by Jim Grover – Brixton Tate Library, London
Available 1 October 2020 – 31 March 2021, by appointment only
Price unknown. More info here.

Camden Black History Walk – Camden, London
Saturday 24 October
From the organisers: “This special walk for Camden Black History Month delves into an amazing depth of African/Caribbean history between Soho Square and Russell Square: It features:

  • Ancient African civilisations
  • Black Female entrepeneurs
  • The Marcus Garvey connection
  • Academia and the white curriculum
  • Black British Civil rights activists
  • Forgotten African genocide of the 20th century
  • Black women broadcasters
  • Equality in the military
  • Mary Seacole, Walter Rodney, Ivan Van Sertima”

Tickets £10. Register here.

Black History Month – Honour, Remember, Inspire – Fitzrovia, London
Available 1 – 30 October 2020
From the organisers: “Zari Gallery is proud to present an exhibition featuring black artists in celebration of Black History Month. Following an outstanding response to our open call, the Zari team has carefully curated a number of artists each with their own story. We wanted to use this as an opportunity to feature these talented artists showcasing their contribution to the art world. Come and celebrate Black History Month with us.”
FREE. Book here.

Black History Month at the Castle Cinema – Hackney, London
Throughout the month of October, the Castle Cinema in Hackney is running a Black History Month season featuring new releases Rocks (Sarah Gavron) and Miss Juneteenth (Channing Godfrey Peoples) and classics La Haine (Matthieu Kassovitz) and The Color Purple (Stephen Spielberg).
Tickets £5 – £14.50. More info here.

Black History Month: How History Has Shaped Black Communities – Shoreditch, London 
Thursday 29 October, 7 – 9pm
From the organisers: “From the Windrush scandal to the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, and the British Black Panther Party to the inception of Notting Hill Carnival, these events created significant moments in Black British history which have impacted the cultural identity of Black individuals today. With the Black Lives Matter movement aiming to tackle racial inequality and achieve social justice, BOXPARK has invited a social and political commentator, representatives of Caribbean history, and Black rights activist to discuss what it means to be Black in today’s society and how to create a sense of belonging among communities.”
FREE. Register here.

Walking tour: Slavery and the City by Six and the City – St. Paul’s, London
Various dates.
A walking tour about the City of London’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.
Tickets £11.37. Register here.

Theatre Peckham’s Young Gifted and Black Season – Peckham, London
Various events taking place from 30 September – 7 November
From the organisers: “Following six months of closure, Theatre Peckham, South London’s flagship cultural venue and pioneering learning theatre, celebrates its reopening with a multi-artform programme of socially distanced, in-person and participatory digital events, taking place throughout October and into November.” Highlights include highlights include …cake a brand-new play by Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020 finalist babirye bukilwa, and Scratch That, an evening featuring two pieces of new writing directed by Emily Aboud and Anthony Simpson Pike, performed to live audiences.
Tickets range from free to £17.50. More info here.

Exhibition: Kehinde Wiley – Ship of Fools – The Levinsky Gallery, Plymouth 
Available 29 September 2020 – 24 January 2021
From the organisers: “Kehinde Wiley is a world renowned Nigerian-American artist whose naturalistic portraits challenge the conventional view of power, taste and privilege by portraying black people of disparate origins and social status as celebrated figures. His style is deliberately decorative and sitters include President Obama, Kanye West and fellow artists Wangechi Mutu and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.”
FREE. Book here.

Let us know about any brilliant events you’ve been to or are planning to go to. For more events, visit the UK Black History Month website.

Image description

  1. Feature image by ekavesh, used with permission courtesy of Pixabay. This shows a banner of that reads “Black History Month.” The ‘Black’ is against a red background; ‘History’ is against a green background; and ‘Month’ is against a yellow background. Each word is stacked on top of the other. This image is in a purple circle and around that is an orange and purple background. 
  2. Head and torso image of the rapper Stormzy performing on stage at Openair Frauenfeld 2019. He is singing or rapping into a mic, which is in his right hand. His left hand is raised to chest height. He is wearing a slim-fitted black t-shirt, black baseball cap, black watch and black in-ear headphones. Image by Frank Schwichtenberg, used with permission courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
  3. Photograph of self-portrait by Zanele Muholi as part of her series ‘Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness.’ This is a black and white (slightly sepia toned) portrait of Muholi looking directly at the camera. She wears dreadlocks piled on top of her head and there is a stool worn as a headdress above her head. What appear to be bundles of straw are wrapped around her neck. Image by Alan McAteer of the Glasgow School of Art, used with permission courtesy of Flickr
  4. Compilation of five images from Theatre Peckham’s Young, Gifted & Black series. The top left-hand image shows a young Black man in profile. The picture is taken slightly from below and we see only the blue sky behind him. He has shoulder-length cornrows and a silver stud earring. He is wearing a light grey hoodie with two lime green stripes down the arm. To the left of the man the words “YOUNG, GIFTED & BLACK” are superimposed. The top right-hand image is a promotional photo for the 7 November event DYLEMA presents A Black Experience. This is a black and white image that shows a Black woman in profile. She has closely shaven blonde hair. The bottom left-hand image is a promotional photo for the 7 October event Exposing the Process: Palm as Portal with Olivia Douglass & malakaï sargeant. This shows the writer/performer Olivia Douglass speaking into a mic. She is a Black woman with dreadlocks which are tied up. She wears a red scarf around her hair. She is wearing a black t-shirt and a dark purple shirt over the top. The bottom middle image is a promotional photo for the 16 October event Young & Gifted Chats: Decolonising Education. This is a closeup image of a young Black man’s face against a teal blue background. His hair is closely shaven and he has a short beard. He is looking up and slightly to the right. The bottom right-hand image is a promotional photo for the 23 and 24 October event ...cake, a play by babirye bukilwa. This is a head and shoulders portrait of bukilwa, a young Black woman. She has jaw length curly hair and is wearing an olive green wrap top. Image used with permission courtesy of Diana Whitehead at Fourth Wall PR.