What is black history month and why do we celebrate it?
In the UK, for the past 35 years, the month of October marks the national celebration of Black History Month. Ā During this time,Ā the achievementsĀ of the black African andĀ CaribbeanĀ community are recognised and celebrated.Ā AlthoughĀ this year, Leeds -along with other major cities across the UK- have put a spin on the annual event. From the help of artists and community workers, aĀ magnificentĀ art displayĀ has been put togetherĀ by The World ReimaginedĀ project,Ā Ā to further the general public's understanding of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. So,Ā here's why projects like TheĀ World Reimagined are crucial in keeping black history alive and present in today's society.

Black history is almost erased out ofĀ our school'sĀ curriculum

The UK's education system isĀ responsible for omitting the vast majorityĀ of black British history out of the school curriculum.Ā The lack of Black history education in schools is contributing towards racism,Ā The Black CurriculumĀ has warned.

Despite the increase in talk of Black History in recent years,Ā OnlyĀ 10% of schools across the UKĀ make the study of itĀ mandatory,Ā which majority of the history beingĀ referredĀ toĀ isĀ American black history.Ā Out ofĀ the 59 GCSE history modules available from the top exam boards in the country (Edexcel, AQA and OCR)Ā 12 specificallyĀ mention black history. Only 5 mention the history of black people in Britain - representing a mereĀ 8%...Ā 

No modules in the GCSE syllabus for the most popular exam board, Edexcel, mention black people in Britain.


SilencingĀ black history has been suggested to contributeĀ to cases ofĀ racism in schoolsĀ 

Eradicating Black history out of the school curriculumĀ trivialises racism,Ā leavingĀ young people uniformed on such tendencies as racial slurs,Ā micro aggressions andĀ stereotypes.

A study conducted by the YMCA asked aboutĀ racismĀ in education. A staggering 95%Ā said they had witnessedĀ racist language at schoolĀ and almost half (49%) said they believed racism was the biggest barrier to academic attainment. If this mindset is left unchecked from an early age, it perpetuates inherent biases black people are often subjected to.Ā This thenĀ forces usĀ to feel weĀ have to overperform or "work twice as hard" asĀ Adele Tondu ,19,Ā member of YMCAā€™sĀ youth advisory group,Ā saidĀ insteadĀ of changing the way society depicts us.


Even thoughĀ our corrupt school systems continueĀ toĀ fail us, that still doesn't mean we can't make an effort to do our own external research. For this article I haveĀ asked an artist partaking in theĀ project ,Natasha Muluswela,Ā toĀ share herĀ thoughts on what The World Reimagined projectĀ Ā means to herĀ while featuring perspectives from leaders across the organisation.The world reimagined project kind of reinforces and acknowledgesĀ theĀ message that theĀ city is actually dark on slavery,Ā Says Natasha Muluswela, creator of the movers of the past shakers of tomorrow globe.

"It will deflect the beauty in the darkness and bring the community together" - Natasha Muluswela.Ā 

Muluswela explains that byĀ combining history and art, creates an inclusive space many people can be part of. She went onĀ to say that Ā  "Seeing kids standing next to my globe,Ā posing with itĀ and engagingĀ with art that speaks of a subject that's so painful and dark is so refreshingĀ "Ā 

Projects like these demonstrate how beneficial it is to include everyone in the conversation of black history- not just black people.

However,Ā change seems to be coming in the near future. After the rise of BLM movementĀ in 2020,Ā Campaigners collected signaturesĀ for an open letter to be sent to the formerĀ education secretaryĀ ,Gavin Williamson, to make the teaching of Black history mandatoryĀ in the school curriculumĀ across a variety ofĀ subjects. While this change hasn't reachedĀ England, Scotland orĀ Northern Ireland yet, Black history will be mandatory inĀ Welsh schoolsĀ from next year which is still a step in the right direction.Ā 

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