Black History Month

  • What is Black History Month?

    Black History Month was first celebrated in the UK in 1987 and takes place every year in October.

    Black History Month aims to raise awareness of Black lives and contributions. Often excluded from history books, it’s a time to share stories and address the balance.

    Black people have lived in the UK for hundreds of years – probably as far back as the 12th century. But if you are an adult who grew up in the UK, how many books or history lessons covered positive stories about Black people or even stories of Black people in diverse roles and positions of power or leadership?

    Of course, Black history and inclusion should be recognised all year round, but Black History Month, like many national and international events, provides an opportunity to put aside everything else we are juggling and pay greater attention to a topic that has often been overlooked.

  • What does 'Black' mean?

    The term Black is often used as a ‘political’ term that acknowledges the oppression or exploitation Black-African and other ethnic groups have experienced through colonialism, slavery, or racism – whether that is ignorance, avoidance, hate crime, harassment or exclusion because of skin colour, national or ethnic origin.

    DCC’s Black History Month wishes to explore the stories of anyone who considers themselves BAME* which we will collectively refer to as Black including, but not limited to, people whose heritage is: Black African/African Caribbean, East Asian (China, Hong Kong, Japan etc), South Asian (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc) and Southeast Asian (Philippines, Thailand etc.), Arab/Middle Eastern, Romany Gypsy/Roma, and the first peoples of the Americas and Australasia.

    *The terms ‘BME’ or ‘BAME’ (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) are also commonly used but ‘minority ethnic’ on its own should be avoided as globally, and in some districts in the UK, Black / Asian people are not a minority. Some people also view the term ‘minority’ as implying marginal or less important, although that is not its intention.

    The political term Black differs from the ethnicity classification often used in diversity monitoring. In the UK Census ‘Black’ is used to describe African/African Caribbean ethnic origin only, and Asian, Arab and other ethnicities are categorised separately. BAME can also sometimes be used to include other people who are not included in the ‘White British’ category such as ‘White other’ (this can include White French, White Australian, White American etc). Not everyone likes being ‘categorised’ in this way but generally, the term BAME is useful in the context of diversity monitoring and analysis and for highlighting issues of racial inequality and racism.

    How does the UK Black History Month differ from the American Black History Month?

    American Black History Month refers to people of Black-African origin and is focussed on the civil rights movement. Whilst its origins started in the early twentieth century, Black History Month was first officially celebrated in February 1970. In America, the term ‘people of colour’ may also be used. The terms ‘coloured’ and ‘non-White’ should be avoided.

What’s on #BHM2020

If you are running an event in Devon to mark Black History Month, please tell us and we will add it to our calendar of events:

What is happening? Where is it happening? When is it happening? How do I get involved? Find out more
Start the Week Discussions Online Every Monday evening during October See below See below
North Devon Sunrise will be running a number of online events to mark Black History Month Online – social media platforms and YouTube
16th October, 7pm: Live Q&A with Kevin Maxwell.
Following his book, Forced Out, which recounts how he was abused by fellow police officers for his race and sexuality, Kevin  joins us for a live Q&A to discuss his book and his experiences.
TBC Date: Intergenerational Conversations in Devon.
Tune in to watch a conversation about being black and living in Devon between generations- and what we can learn about then and now.
Mon 26th 11am: African Necklaces – 
Half Term Kids Craft:
Join Natali from Sunrise for this fun half term kids craft to celebrate Black History Month by making African necklaces. Join her to learn about black culture and history and make a fun necklace to keep.
All month: Celebrating black icons: interactive social media conversations.

Follow Sunrise on social media for dates and further information.

Examples of how you can get involved:

  • Put your questions to Kevin Maxwell via social media.
  • Take part in an online craft activity – make an African necklace (half term child craft activity).

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: @SunriseDevon

North Devon Sunrise:

Tel: 01271 328915.


School activities    

Anti-Racism in Schools

Black History Month – Resources for Schools

Library of anti-racism resources for teachers


Screening of Joanna Vassa – a film by Jason Young You Tube screening Thursday 22nd October 2020 – 7pm Watch via this You Tube link.

The story of the daughter of the 18th century writer and abolitionist, Gustavus Vassa, otherwise known as Olaudah Equiano.

Joanna Vassa married a Congregational minister in Appledore and lived there between 1821 and 1826.

Further information


Article on Torbay’s Black Sailors    Read the full article
Evening event to celebrate
Black History Month
Zoom 22nd October 2020, between 6.30 and 8.30pm You are welcome to present a poem or writing by someone you admire or about someone who inspires you. (3 mins max each person)
Alternatively you might just want to come and listen to others present – do join us.
For more information and to book a place please contact:
A link on how to join the event will be sent after a booking has been made.

Start the Week Discussions

Devon Development Education, in partnership with the County Council, are running a series of weekly discussions about Black History in Devon.

The events will take place on Zoom.

  • Telling Our Stories – Finding Our Roots: Devon’s Multi-Cultural History

Monday 5th October 2020, 18.00 to 19.30

Interesting stories from Crystal Carter, Sandhya Dave and Ghee Bowman.

Join online at

Meeting ID: 991 2766 1485

Passcode: 276953

  • Celebrating Windrush in Devon – Our Windrush Stories

Monday 12th October 2020, 18.00 to 19.30

Chaired by Desmond Kumar with Anne Madray, Krish Madray, Dave Samuels and Euten Lindsay.

Join online at

Meeting ID: 973 7351 9474

Passcode: 766810

  • Is there still a place for Black History Month?

Monday 19th October 2020, 18.00 to 19.30

Panel discussion chaired by Sandhya Dave

Join online at

Meeting ID: 937 6498 9576

Passcode: 857325

  • Black Futures – a discussion about taking action and campaigning for change

Monday 26th October 2020,18.00 to 19.30

Panel discussion chaired by Sandhya Dave with Sara Hurley (Into The Mix / Blazing Tales), Kalkidan Legesse (Sanchos Dress), Maia Thomas (BLM Devon), Jo Hooper (Devon CC Equality)

Join online at

Meeting ID: 979 8356 2180

Passcode: 106636

Supported by Devon County CouncilDevon Development Education


We also want to hear from BAME people living in Devon willing to share their personal stories for a future exhibition, by answering three questions:

  • From the perspective of your ethnic / cultural background, what has changed for you since growing up in, or coming to, the UK? What do you remember from your childhood, teenage years, as a young adult / student?
  • What is it currently like to live in Devon as a person with BAME heritage? How does this compare with your childhood / youth? Are there particular places or happenings that you think celebrate or support ethnic / cultural diversity well? To what extent do you feel ‘visible’ in your community or to businesses and services and is this visibility one of respect and understanding?
  • Why is exploring cultural heritage such as celebrating Black History Month important?

You can share your stories anonymously, but if you are able to tell us who you are and share photographs (maybe of your childhood?) then it will make the exhibition all the more interesting. You can take part as a family too or submit a video. To take part – complete our questionnaire or email your responses to us.

Resources and further information