After a summer of anti-racist action, Britain finally seems ready to take Black History Month as seriously as it should

Editorial: After three decades, many seem to have woken up to the importance of paying more than lip service to the annual celebration

A Black Lives Matter protest in London in July
A Black Lives Matter protest in London in July(PA)
More than 30 years since its emergence, the UK’s relationship with Black History Month remains complicated. Though great strides have been made to recognise it as a fixture of the British calendar – each year, it seems, hurdles emerge.

It has been rebranded, inexplicably, as Bame History Month or “Diversity Month” as one London council saw fit in 2018. The battle for adequate representation has been long and arduous in schools, where black history is often reduced to lessons about African-American civil rights leaders, or condensed or incomplete classes about the transatlantic slave trade.

This year, however, after months of anti-racist action around the world, many seem to have woken up to the importance of paying more than lip service to the annual celebration. We can hope this is motivated by a sincere desire to amplify the overlooked contributions and achievements of black Britons, rather than a cynical attempt to save face in the event of a backlash. Whatever the case, it feels as if there is something different about Black History Month in 2020.

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