See how a variety of HMC schools have marked Black History Month in 2022:
Bradford Grammar School
As part of marking Black History Month this year, Year 10 pupils learnt about the experiences of African Americans in the 1920s as part of the school curriculum. Lessons included looking at the ‘Great migration’ & the ‘Harlem Renaissance’ & opportunities open to African Americans in the Northern states of the USA. Furthermore, History Society students gave some fascinating talks on a selection of key/central figures from history including Octavius Valentine Catto, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks and Katherine Jackson, celebrating their contributions and influences on society.
Canford School’s Black History Month programme has involved all academic departments, with internal activities complemented with a range of diverse external speakers. See the programme here.
Author, broadcaster and educator Jeffrey Boakye spoke to Fifth Formers via Teams about his life, the language surrounding race, and ways in which we can all reflect on our own identity. Jemma Roye, Founder of ‘Let’s Start A Conversation’, spent three days talking to all Canford pupils discussing their lived experiences and how we can continue to build a strong anti-racist community. Founder of online education platform ‘Enrich Learning’ and growth business online mentor ‘The Process’, Onyinye Udokporo spoke to Fourth and Fifth Formers about social mobility, while award winning social entrepreneur George Uboro talked about reversing current employment trends and some of his most significant projects, including co-founding The Black Excellence Network and his work with Department for Education, UCAS, McKinsey & Co and MediaCom.
Celebrations extended to food with a special Black History Month themed lunch and there was a lively Sixth Form debate with the motion ‘This House supports the celebration of Black History Month’.
To celebrate Black History Month, Cranleigh staff and pupils hosted an array of different activities and sessions to spread awareness through the School while staying true to the 2022 theme of Time for Change: Actions Not Words.
One of the school’s projects was to launch a new anti-racism group, coinciding with the first week of Black History Month. This group sits under the Diversity Alliance banner as part of ‘Cranleigh Being’, (who we are and how we are), and is a safe space for pupils to discuss, explore, and try and dismantle the spectre of racism in modern society. The group also serves as a space for pupils from minority ethnic groups to speak out and the group is open to allies and all interested pupils alike.
Other projects for Black History Month included an assembly for Cranleigh Prep School on four notable Black British activists, a screening of ‘Hidden Figures’ by the Physics department, a sports department research project into notable Black British sportspeople, all Fourth Form pupils created a multimedia timeline infographic in Digital Literacy, the Music department screened a documentary on black influence on musical styles in music and showed the documentary Ray and in the School Chapel, pupils have rehearsed music from African-American backgrounds and the Organist, Julian Joseph, played music inspired by Southern American music as pupils entered and left.
The school also engaged in a whole-school anti-racism and allyship guided tutorial where pupils were asked, in small house groups, to consider inclusive language, discuss an example of institutional racism, be introduced to the idea of active anti-racism and how to and what it means to show allyship. Academic departments have let the Black History Month theme ‘Time for Change: Actions not Words’ influence the lessons with the Science department launching a combined sciences research project to research and present a notable Black scientist from any area of STEM. There was also a Knoller Society Lunch with a presentation and discussion topic of Race and Immigration in Britain during and after the second world war. Jazz musician, Julian Joseph, also performed a concert and the artist Kevin Dalton-Johnson worked with pupils during Black History Month too.
At Doha College, Black History Month was an opportunity to celebrate black contributions and achievements, to inspire and engage all students. There is international dialogue around the need for a Black History Month, and discussion that this narrative is also transferable to others such as the South Asian diaspora and Brown history, to recognise all disadvantaged societies who have suffered immensely from enslavement, exploitation and a legacy impacted by colonialism and oppression by others.
In Doha College, the month of October was a chance for students, staff, and parents to engage in activities which challenge traditional narratives, and celebrate the rich traditions of Black History. One of these activities was a school-wide competition to create posters of notable black figures throughout history. These figures were anyone from sporting icons to political figures or even people who personally inspired the children, like family members and teachers. Every life should matter, every day, of every month, of every year. However, history shows that the narrative is often penned by the victor, and the voices of the oppressed, along with their history, are seldom heard. Black civilisation has a rich history and culture, yet it has largely been forgotten and still struggles to garner the attention it deserves. As one historian said – ‘…slavery and colonisation are not Black African history…. slavery and colonisation interrupted Black African history.’
Carter G Woodson (known as the ‘father of Black history’) championed the belief that – not seeing yourself represented in the past, makes it difficult to imagine your future. Doha College are committed to promoting the benefits of a diverse school community, where all pupils and staff are equally respected and valued. In the spirit of diversity, equity and inclusion, the school continues to work towards a vision of a fully inclusive school where children, staff and parents are treated with dignity, are valued and celebrated.
A dynamic collection of events to celebrate this year’s Black History Month was on offer for Dulwich College pupils during October, many of them highlighting long-standing associations at the school since the 1900s and reflecting the theme ‘Our History’. It’s a story that includes some fascinating alumni, including contemporary icons such as actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, fast bowler Chris Jordan, and actor, presenter and writer Baroness Floella Benjamin. See here for the full programme of events and activity to mark Black History Month.
As part of marking Black History Month at Gordonstoun this year, the staff team in the school’s Health Care Centre produced and put together a detailed display with particular attention paid to important figures in the world of medicine. Also, this month, Alice Bromage, Director at Empowering Success, and representatives of the Black Mamba female anti-poaching unit from Balule, South Africa (whom she coaches) also gave a fascinating 6th Form lecture to pupils at the school.
Ipswich School began Black History Month with a talk about ‘Fashioning Blackness: Fashion, Style and the Diaspora‘ from Amy Orchard-King, a parent and an Associate Lecturer across the University of the Arts London campuses. Following this, the school had the London Community Gospel Choir lead an evening of music at a school event. One of the school’s sixth form students worked alongside staff to hold a cinema evening showing ‘BlacKkKlansman’, which raised money for a local charity supporting black and ethnic minority young women and children. Alongside these events, the school have promoted local events across the month, completed activities in lessons across the school celebrating Black History, promoted books in our library with a focus on black history & black authors, as well as displaying a local photographic exhibition that creatively explores the concept of home for a diversity of people from the African-Caribbean community who have made Suffolk their home, or who were born here.
Kingston Grammar School
The school’s whole community focus was the launch of the “Best Books for Black History” initiative. Everyone was encouraged to read a book on a recommended reading list as part of ensuring the school are continuing important conversations beyond October. First and Forth Year students took part in the “Promoting Equality and tackling Racism in Society” workshops with Show Racism the Red Card. The First year also all took park in football sessions run by the educators, previously professional footballers. Throughout the school there have been several Black History Month assemblies. A Lower School assembly focused on the display of the Benin Bronzes in European and North America museums and the ongoing negative impact of Empire.
Across the school, academic departments have also been marking BHM. The English department are reading their own choice of book by a Black author and displaying their recommendations. In lessons, all classes in Years 1-5 have studied poetry by writers of colour. In History lessons students have been learning about; the Black Tudors, the experience of empire troops during WW1 and the treatment of African Americans soldiers in the Vietnam War. The Senior History Society have delivered presentations to each other on South African history and civil rights in the USA. The Religion and Philosophy department HIGENFY (Have I Got Ethical News For You) led by Mr Lawrence explored the contributions of Stormzy, who, through his ‘Merky Foundation’ has pledged to “fight for racial equality, justice reform and black empowerment within the UK”. The Sixth Form Geographers have discussed Dipo Faloyin’s recent book “Africa is Not a Country”, looking at the danger of a single story about a continent of great diversity.
Lady Eleanor Holles School
Black History Month 2022 events at Lady Eleanor Hollles School have included discussions about Black Role Models, an assembly on the Notting Hill Carnival, a Poetry Reading and Discussion and a ‘Showing of Hidden Figures’ event. Students who participated in the first Poetry Reading Competition in honour of #BlackHistoryMonth were asked to perform a poem of their choice to celebrate black literary excellence, some pupils chose to write and read their own poems. Josephine Olutayo in L6, painted to celebrate the African Caribbean culture as part of Black History Month 2022.
The Millfield community have been celebrating Black History Month by reflecting upon and celebrating the positive contribution Black people have made politically, socially, and culturally to the development of Britain and other countries.
The Millfield History and Politics department hosted a Brilliance Breakfast, during which Upper Sixth History students presented to an audience of students from all year groups about developments in African American civil rights between 1865-1968.
Each of the five year groups at Millfield have had a Black History Month theme to their weekly assemblies. During the assemblies, History and Politics students have presented about the importance of Black History Month, how issues regarding black civil rights are integrated into the Millfield curriculum and shared stories about significant figures within black civil rights movements throughout history.
Nottingham High School
Year 7 students at Nottingham High School participated in a bespoke programme of events to celebrate Black History Month as part of a Black History, Arts and Culture Day. Students participated in a range of activities, designed to celebrate not only Black British History, but also Black Art, Black Food, Black Music and Black Culture. The students’ favourite part of the day was a music workshop with MC Zani and the Beatbox Collective, where students were able to develop their understanding of Black music and learn how to Beatbox. Alongside this they had workshops with the Food Department, where Preeti Mills showed students how to make chapattis and other traditional cuisines. In art, students learnt about the work of Madrid-based Brazilian photographer Angelica Dass, who believes the spectrum of human skin tone is infinite. Students produced their own images and the Art Department are now working on the development of our own ‘Pantone Shades in Humanae’ display. In History, students learned about Edo culture and debates over the British Museum’s ‘ownership’ of the Benin Bronzes. The work done in these sessions was followed up by letters written by our Year 7 students to the British Museum to ask that this artwork of significant historical, religious and cultural value to the people of Nigeria be returned. In addition to these sessions, students also had sessions with the English Department to explore Black British authors, sessions with the Biology Department to explore the migration of the first humans out of Africa and in RS students learned about why the exploration and celebration of Black History is a moral duty for us all.
During the month of October, Roedean School marked Black History Month with a series of activities and events in recognition of the theme ‘Time for Change: Action Not Words’. It was the school’s great pleasure to welcome Baroness Floella Benjamin to speak at Roedean about her experiences of arriving in England as part of the Windrush generation, and about her ethos for life, which was both inspiring and humbling. The lecture was attended by every student in school, as well as by over fifty Year 10 students from five local state schools who attend the Roedean Academy programme of academic enrichment. It was truly inspirational. A number of students from Years 9 to 13 performed ‘Emilia’, a play about Emilia Bassano Lanier, a woman of mixed heritage and a member of Elizabethan Court Society, who was the first woman to assert herself as a professional poet. A Chapel service led by students about Black women in creative and design fields was followed by a visit from the National Archives, tutor periods were dedicated to discussions focussing on British Black History, and Roedean Library stocked and recommended books by Black authors for half-term reading to finish the month.
Shiplake College has been marking and celebrating Black History Month in many ways throughout the month. At the start of October, in an activity that was led on by our Equality and Diversity team, we challenged pupils to create a piece of artwork to help our community celebrate Black History Month.
This work had to be centred around the theme ‘action not words’ and contain three colours; Black symbolic of race; Red, symbolic of the struggle and bloodshed in the fight for equality; and Green, symbolic of new growth. There were many entries, with four given Highly Commended status. The winning piece of artwork was awarded to Year 9 pupil, Zac Fisher.
On Thursday 20 October, the College’s drama scholars organised and put on a Performance Showcase to celebrate the works and influence of black artists. In what was the first event of its kind, and surely not the last, the evening provided an opportunity to raise awareness and introduce members of the Shiplake College community to perhaps not so well-known pieces of work by artists such as Cush Jumbo and James Weldon Johnson.
On the night of the showcase, while waiting for the start of the performances, the audience was played a diverse range of music which included blues, and music from rapper and songwriter, Daniel Dumile (MF Doom). All performers put on a fantastic show, and we hope that you will be keen to explore the work of Katori Hall or Cush Jumbo, with another, more diverse name on your lips in your next discussion about the theatre.
If you missed the show and want to get a taste of the performances, you can do so with this highlights video.
The Grammar School at Leeds
To celebrate Black History Month 2022, students of all ages at The Grammar School at Leeds enjoyed a variety of assemblies, educational talks from special guests, creative opportunities and musical performances. Pupils came together to discuss the importance of uniting around a shared common goal to achieve a better world for everyone.
Special blue plaques detailing the achievements of various important Black figures throughout history, science and culture were erected throughout senior school, and pupils researched a number of Black role models to learn more about the achievements of the Black community; a collage portrait in Pan-African colours on a black background to reflect African roots was also created by our EDI society, UpSoc. The highlight of the celebrations was a visit by Baroness Floella Benjamin who shared her experiences about when she first came to England as a 10 year old with Year 6 pupils, followed by a truly inspiring talk to our senior pupils and staff entitled, Smiling in the Face of Adversity.
The King’s Hospital School
As part of The King’s Hospital School’s commitment to being an inclusive institution that celebrates its diversity, they marked Irish Black History Week from 24-28 October, and advertised it using artwork by the extremely talented Form 6 student, Chinonye Okwara. The week then began with a speech on the importance of celebrating black history and was followed by a host of interesting talks, movie screenings and discussions, including welcoming Barrister Joy-Tendai and past pupil and medical student Moyin Mobolaji, and watching and discussing the film King Richard. The week drew to a close with a wear red non-uniform day to tie in with the Give Racism the Red Card campaign, although the school is committed to continuing the learning from the week by organising more Black History events that will take place throughout the year.
The Royal Hospital School
The Royal Hospital School have been celebrating Black History Month with a number of activities, many of which have been organised by the pupil-led Diversity Committee. October started with a statement from blackhistorymonth.org.uk read out in assembly encouraging everyone to take the opportunity to reflect on the positive contribution Black people have made in the development of Britain and to get involved in the celebrations and educational events.
An art exhibition was installed celebrating Black artists and designers, posters were put along the main school teaching corridors highlighting and celebrating the lives of some of the most important Black Britons who broke race barriers and left an indelible mark on the history of this country. Movie nights have been held celebrating Black cinema and storytelling including ‘Hidden Figures’ which tells the story about African American female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race. A lecture by Professor David Olusoga, author of ‘Black and British’ was streamed for pupils and staff to watch. The library has curated a collection of books to help educate and inspire including ‘100 Great Black Britons’ by Patrick Vernon and Angelina Osborne, ‘Musical Truth’ by Jeffrey Boakye and ‘Silence is Not an Option’ by Stuart Lawrence.
Throughout the month teachers have also been celebrating Black heroes in the classroom including scientists, musicians, sportspeople and mathematicians to highlight their contributions to culture and development. A theatre trip has been organised for early November to the New Wolsey Theatre to see Malorie Blackman’s ‘Noughts & Crosses’, a story about love, revolution and what it means to grow up in a divided world.
The school have been working with the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation since 2019 and are an Ambassador School helping to promote the mission of inspiring a fairer and just society. We are fortunate to have a diverse community at RHS and as a school we are striving to ensure that we create an environment where all pupils appreciate and respect each other’s differences not just during October, but every day.
As part of Black History Month celebrations, the school hosted a ‘House safari movie night’ for boarders. Each House hosted a movie screening that foregrounds Black History and culture – from ‘Fruitvale Station to Get Out!’. The school’s theatre enabled students to watch a variety of clips, shorts and films, which celebrate black history and culture during break and lunchtimes. Furthermore, the school shared a partial timeline of Black British history from Syracuse University London on social media and to students at the school. See the full timeline here. Students have also been working on projects to celebrate Black History Month and these were shared at the Worksop College Black Hisotry Month Showcase.
See social media activity from HMC schools that highlights how they have been marking Black History Month 2022 here.