Black History Month

1st October 2019
31st October 2019

Black history is British history and it belongs to all of us #BlackHistoryUoN

From the importance of the sugar economy in the 18th and 19th century to Black people in the Tudor courts, and Afro-Romans – Black people have been in Britain since Roman times.

On behalf of the Students’ Union, I, Vice President BME Tré Ventour have put together a schedule of events for students, staff and members of the public to take part in during Black History Month (October) – including lectures, film nights and storytelling events, collaborating with different departments across campus, such as Changemaker Hub and Library & Learning Services.

For Black History Month to not be tokenistic, we need to be talking about Black history 24/7. I want to live in a world where we don’t need Black History Month. Meshing academia with entertainment, I have drawn up a programme in which there’ll be something for everyone. Black history is British history, we’ve just not heard it told this way before. And it’s time to set the story straight.

All the events are free and to express interest, please register on Eventbrite

Please see some of the key events taking place in October:

Black History Speaks

Black History Speaks will be a series lectures under the brand of race and identity, delivered by anyone who has anything to say. From current students to alumni to members of staff and lecturers from other universities and community figures – Black History Speaks will run through the year, starting in Black History Month on October 1, with The Black History We Don’t Learn at School, in SN101 (with me, Vice President BME Tré Ventour).

The I Am Project with author Gina Myrie (Oct 8, 2pm at The Waterside Restaurant)

With mental health issues being at crisis point in society, especially at HE institutions, it’s certainly forward-thinking to include an event on the mental health stigma. Moreover, the intersections mental health has with race. Hosted by author-poet Gina Myrie and supported by inspirational guest speakers, The I Am Project is all about finding who you are and your inner self.

Fat Film Fridays (September – May)

Fat Film Fridays will be a weekly film night where students, staff and members of the public come to watch films. We are a university so what these films have in common is that provoke critical thinking. Starting in September during Welcome Week (with Ava DuVernay’s Selma), there’ll be many films in the year. Black History Month starts with Amma Asante’s Belle on October 4, based on the story of (Black) mixed-race Georgian Dido Elizabeth Belle set in the backdrop of The Zong Case.

Let’s Talk About Race

Currently under the title of Let’s Talk About Race (subject to change), institutions with demographics as significant as ours (in terms of BME students) need to be talking about race. This is something that’ll start in October but will run throughout the year, with each discussion having a theme.

Can You Poet

Can You Poet is something I started as student – a monthly(ish) poetry night that focuses on political poetry, giving performing artists a platform to express themselves, always featuring a guest speaker. My next event is on September 25 and themed on identity, featuring a talk from Dr Melanie Crofts on equality, diversity and inclusion. The Black History Month edition will be at the Royal & Derngate.

Cotton is King

Once upon a time, you could go to Mississippi and the local planters would say “cotton is king.” Cotton is King will be a discussion on Slavery. I grew up hearing that slavery is not something we did in England. It was always something that was in America and the Caribbean; but there were slaves in Liverpool, London, Bristol and Glasgow. Slavery is still a conversation we’re uncomfortable with in this country and we will be discussing it from a business point of view, including law and economics, using Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners as a springboard to open a dialogue.

“Black history is more than just biographies; it’s fundamental to understanding British history because it is a vital part of British history.”

David Olusoga

NB: If anyone has any questions about Black History (Month), you can email Tré.

Tweet @treventoursu / Instagram and Facebook @treventourvpbme

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