Black History Month 2020

October is Black History Month – a month set aside to learn, honour, and celebrate the achievements of black men and women throughout history. In recent years, there have been discussions about ensuring a school’s curriculum does this throughout ie we should be celebrating these achievements all year and not just in October!

A recent performance by the dance troupe Diversity (see below) focussing on the “Black Lives Matter” movement, saw thousands of complaints made to the TV watchdog Ofcom.

Surely art is a medium used to get people talking and discussing different points of view and perspectives. Perhaps you could ask your pupils why they think this performance received so many complaints? Then this could lead to a wider discussion about recent events reported in the news including the demands to remove certain statues up and down the country.

LGfL Resources

Black History Month gives students the opportunities to look at significant figures throughout history. 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 video below she talks about her commitment to inspiring young people.

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 52 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:

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 website and resource pack from LGfL it enables students 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 KS3 and KS2 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. LGfl’s Significant People  resource also features Mary Seacole on an active worksheet all about the contribution of nurses.

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. UK Parliament have also put together a collection of resources that can be used to explore diversity and the changing nature of representation in the UK. This series of videos with supporting teachers’ packs allows students to find out about Parliamentarians’ experience of changing diversity and to consider what diversity means to them.

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.

2018 saw the first Windrush Day on 22nd June to celebrate 70 years since the first 500 Windrush migrants arrived from the Caribbean in Tilbury Docks in Essex, abroad the MV Empire Windrush. “A Windrush Day will allow communities up and down the country to recognise and honour the enormous contribution of those who stepped ashore at Tilbury Docks 70 years ago,” said Lord Bourne. “It will keep their legacy alive for future generations, ensuring that we all celebrate the diversity of Britain’s history.”  There are lots of videos and information available on the Windrush Day website.

The Empire Windrush Education Resource, prepared by education practitioners and community advocates, and published by Windrush Foundation, includes more than 150 pages of information, activities, photographs and data for students, teachers, parents, guardians and anyone keen to know some of the interesting post-war stories of Caribbean people in the UK.

You can claim your copy of this resource for KS2 here.

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 2019.