Historically Black Every Month | Valerie Brandes

As October Black History Month in the UK draws to a close, I find myself reflecting once again on whether the importance of the month has outgrown its utility. In the 21st century, post-pandemic, Internet Age, access to information is unparalleled and it is clear there has been a significant de-centering of the mainstream, whether in culture, accomplishments, relevance, or gaze. Where my line of questioning leads me is not to an end to Black History Month as the force it has been to highlight the accomplishments of key Black people throughout the diaspora, but an evolution of the celebration to include the Black history that is being made all the time, always.

I see my underlying frustration, perhaps even irritation, with the concept of Black History Month is that it negates the fact that Black History is constantly occurring and evolving and being made. The shoehorning of events into these 31 days of pre-winter, along with Halloween, and even more disturbingly early (very) Christmas holiday fare, have given rise to a wariness and weariness that threatens to undo the vital work that it took to create the recognition of Black achievement in the first place.

Black Britons have made significant contributions to various fields, including art, music, theatre, science, literature, politics, publishing, and sports. By celebrating Black history every month, we can provide an ongoing, vital opportunity, to reveal these often-hidden histories and develop a deeper understanding of ourselves as Black Britons, expanding Britishness itself by highlighting the undeniable impact of the contributions of so many to our society and culture, on a consistent rather than unique basis. 

 Here are three reasons why we must be Historically Black Every Month:

  • Representation Matters. When Black history is acknowledged and celebrated year-round, it serves as a powerful symbol of representation. This inclusivity can inspire and empower individuals from all backgrounds to achieve their goals, knowing that their contributions will be recognised and appreciated. 
  • History is forever in the making and the lived experience of Black people means that by simply being part of a community, city or country, our very presence is creating history, and in our excellence, we are historically Black every day.
  • By exploring Black history throughout the year, we can break down harmful stereotypes and biases. Learning about the rich tapestry of Black heritage allows us to appreciate the diversity of experiences within the Black community.

Celebrating Black history every month is more than just a symbolic gesture; it's an essential commitment to preserving, educating, and celebrating the rich heritage of Black individuals and communities. As a Black publisher, we are dedicated to making Black history an integral part of the discourse year-round. Join us in this journey of discovery, reflection, and celebration. Together, we can help ensure that Black history is no longer relegated to a single month but woven into the fabric of our shared understanding of the past, present, and future. 

Black history is not confined to a particular time frame; it is an integral part of the very fabric of our society and humanity. Black history is world history, and human history. It deserves a spotlight all year round.