Black History Month 2021

October is Black History Month – a month set aside to learn, honour, and celebrate the achievements of black men and women throughout history. The Black History Month UK magazine is launching a new campaign to mark Black History Month this year inspired by the 2020 Black Lives Matter events, the new campaign is called ‘Proud To Be‘. It will invite Black and Brown people of all ages throughout the UK to share what they are proud to be.

Last year’s performance by the dance troupe Diversity (which won Bafta’s “Must See Moment” Award) also focussed on the “Black Lives Matter” movement as well as other themes like the coronavirus pandemic, poverty and other topics relating to 2020. Watch the performance below:

LGfL Resources

Black History Month gives students the opportunities to look at significant figures throughout history.

The ReadingZone Bookclub is offering schools the opportunity to join Catherine Johnson talking about her novels Freedom and Race to the North, and discussing how the real events these books are based on have helped shape Black History in Britain. This event is taking place on Friday 1st October, 2pm – 2.45pm, for Years 5 & 6 (ages 9/10+).

Jamia Wilson is one of the many authors to feature in ReadingZone Live; she has been a powerful force in the social justice movement for nearly a decade, in the videos below she talks about her commitment to inspiring young people and highlighting the achievements of figureheads, leaders and pioneers aswell as cultural trailblazers and sporting heroes.

As well as being a thought leader, an activist, a feminist, a mediamaker, she is also a storyteller, her book Young, Gifted and Black features fifty-two icons of colour from the past and present.

The books celebrates the inspirational achievements from figureheads, leaders and pioneers such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks, to cultural trailblazers and sporting heroes, including Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams. Strong, courageous, talented and diverse, these extraordinary men and women’s achievements will inspire a new generation to chase their dream … whatever it may be.

The book and these clips would be perfect to use during Black History month, the video below gives further advice on how schools and support children from diverse backgrounds:

Pupils could then create digital factfiles, posters or animations detailing the inspirational achievements from these people either in BusyThings or the Just2easy Toolsuite. (Note the hyperlinks take you to the LGfL log in pages).

Other Resources

There are a range of other resources listed below that could be used in schools throughout the month, either in individual lessons, or as a discussion point for assemblies.
Strictly Come Dancing’s Oti Mabuse brings you a selection of Horrible Histories sketches and songs featuring Rosa Parks, Civil War spy Mary Bowser, pioneering boxer Bill Richmond, plus Mary Seacole and Martin Luther King Jr.

George Bridgetower – art, liberty and slavery: in this legacy website and resource pack from LGfL students can to take a close look at George Bridgetower and his relationship with Beethoven. Students can also examine other artists, writers and musicians who were working at the same time as Bridgetower, with a special focus on their relationship to the anti-slavery movement. This resource can be used with KS2 and KS3 pupils.

The Life of Nelson Mandela –  from CultureStreet.org this resource and  the lesson plans focus on the life of Nelson Mandela using the work of South African comic book company Umlando Wezithombe.  This resource can be used by KS1 and KS2 students.

The Life of Mary Seacole from the BBC School Radio, is a series of three short video episodes, that tell her life story.  Mary begins her story with her journey from Jamaica to London – and then onward to the Crimea during the Crimean War and her meeting with the journalist William Howard Russell. After the war ends, Mary tells of her time back in London, impoverished and apparently forgotten by the British public.

There are also activities related to the videos on the site.

The BBC have also put together a range of inspiring resources for both primary and secondary schools, around black history, heritage, culture and achievements. There are also a range of teacher notes and the content is suitable for KS2 through to GCSE. The resources include videos, assemblies and lesson plans.

bbc teach black history

Walter Tull – was a professional football and was the first British-born black army officer and the first black officer to lead white British troops into battle. The video below tells his story and is perfect for KS2 and KS3 pupils looking at WW1 and the impact that Walter had:

As well as researching significant figures, this month provides pupils the chance to reflect on tolerance and inclusivity in society, Developing British Values from LGfL – looks at this topic and provides short video clips for discussion in class. True Tube provides videos that cover RE, PHSE and citizenship and have a collection of videos that can be used as discussion points for Black History month including Rageh Omar discussing Black History Month and how he feels that it has lost its importance in modern Britain because it hasn’t moved with the times .

Into film have created a list of films for Black History Month, the list aims to highlight the tremendous range and diversity of black filmmaking talent in front of and behind the camera. It also looks to celebrate black culture more generally and draw attention to its rich, and often painful history. Film is a hugely powerful medium to elicit empathy and understanding, but also to provoke debate. Lots of history is covered within the list, alongside films also celebrating the vibrancy and style of much black music and culture, demonstrating tremendously exciting work from younger artists. There are films featured for all ages.

Black History 4 Schools contains a wide range of links to useful resources (including fact sheets and ppts) all separated into historic sections:

  • Black Presence in Tudor Times
  • Transatlantic Slave Trade and Abolition of Slavery
  • Black Presence in the 18th and 19th Century
  • Black Presence in the 20th Century

BBC Bitesize look at six key events in black history which you may have not heard of, as highlighted by Prof Kehinde Andrews, who teaches Black Studies at Birmingham City School of Social Sciences.

On the Adobe Education Exchange there are a collection of social justice projects available here.

Stonewall has developed a set of lesson plans and supporting resources to offer educators some guidance on having an LGBT inclusive Black History Month. They include a range of differentiated activities and presentations to help address learners understanding of fair and unfair as well as information about famous black figures. These resources break down some of the issues in to more simple understandable language that may be more accessible to some learners. PowerPoint slide showing a bus with black people at the back and asking the question fair or unfair.

What will you be doing for Black History month? Please share your work with us via our Twitter and Facebook page #BlackHistoryMonth

Blogpost edited from the previous one on this theme posted in 2020.