Lancaster’s take on Black History month
‘Black History is the lost pages of human history’
Lancaster’s African-Caribbean society put on the first ever ‘Black History Month Culture Celebration’.
Black history month has existed in the UK since 1987 and has never been more important. It recognises the importance and contribution of black culture to our society as well as educating people about the history of the black community.
Michelle Fashanu, ACS President and third-year social work student, said “The event went smoothly and was an event to remember. Hopefully, people will go away empowered and knowing more about black history to build a better more unified black future!”
Campaigns such as Black Lives Matter have been dominating the media for a while now, especially with the deaths of Eric Garner, Mike Brown and Freddie Gray really bringing police brutality to the forefront of people’s minds and hopefully their conscientiousness too.
The event turned out to be a great success and boasted a host of celebrities including MOBO award winning rapper Akala, who also gives lectures on black history around the country and the world.
A Dot Comedian also made an appearance, who has racked up thousands of views on YouTube and is selling out one-man tours across the country. Other guests to appear at the event include notable Lancaster University Alumni like Tim Pemberton who is current managing editor for BBC Radio Bristol as well many others.
Black History is more than just learning about Martin Luther King and slavery, it is about coming together and celebrating the diversity and appreciating the contribution of Black culture to society.
The Tab spoke to A Dot Comedian to get his thoughts on the significance and relevance of Black History month:
“Black History month, it’s a positive thing that we are celebrating this together in the 21st century. It makes black people feel appreciated. It is a step in the right direction, with changing attitudes reflecting a bright future.
“The university has seen levels of black students increase over the years which reflects the diverse culture of Lancaster and it is great for me to be a part of such an event and to help raise awareness of Black History and make people feel proud of who they are and the culture that they come from”.
Second-year law student and cross-campus officer for Ethnic Minorities Maab Saifelden said “I think the event went great. Akala was an amazing speaker, he captivated the crowd with the information about African History which put that fire and passion in the hearts of everyone.
“Like I said in the radio discussion with Bailrigg FM we need for black people to know their history and use that to better the world. Education and action. For anyone who missed this event, they really missed an amazing event.
“Lancaster University this year is doing an amazing job with publicising and bringing attention to black history and its importance”.
Akala spoke about his take on the significance of the event and what black culture means to him:
“Its not just the event but the icons of Black History month that generally has to be understood as a period/cultural celebration celebratory period during which we can emphasise the contributions of black to science, art, mathematics, architecture in short civilization.
“This isn’t about charity, political correctness, for a very long time lots of pseudo-scholars spent lots of ink, lots of resources denying, downplaying and deliberately distorting black people’s contributions, therefore this month is needed so that we can overcome some of those boundaries. Even black people themselves generally because of this colonial miseducation throughout Africa and the Caribbean still believe some of the pseudo-scientific nonsense about pre-colonial African society, and black people’s current contribution to science, art and technology.
“It shouldn’t just be another time to teach Martin Luther King and slavery. If we are to teach slavery, we should be teaching the ancient revolution, resistance or some of the episodes that people don’t know about so much. Black History is the lost pages of human history. There is no way to properly understand the human story and not understand the chapter of it that happens to be the story of people with black skin.
“People need to understand the aim of what Black History month is. It is about understanding that black history is not a resistance to racism because that is not what Black History stands for. It is a very short window, a period within that history.”
The event was a huge success with attendees leaving with a sense of purpose and lots of new knowledge.
Black History month is coming to a close for 2015. Whether or not you attended the event, if you take one thing away from this month, let it encourage you to keep learning, never discriminate and always respect others so that we can all celebrate diversity and culture as one.