Celebrating Black History Month UK
Black History Month takes place every October in the UK. Use this activity with secondary school students to discover some exceptional Black British humanitarians.
- Quick activity
- Humanitarianism and the Red Cross, Kindness
What is Black History Month?
Black History Month started over a hundred years ago in the US, as a way to bring Black voices and stories to discussions of history. It was first recognised in the UK in the 1980s, organised in October by Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, to acknowledge 150 years of Caribbean freedom and the 100th birthday of Marcus Garvey.
Why do we celebrate it today?
We celebrate Black History Month because celebrating the achievements of people is important and Black History is still underrepresented in mainstream history classes and books. Throughout the 150-year history of the British Red Cross, we have had countless kind and resilient volunteers work with us at the British Red Cross. These people are recognised for their kindness. We celebrate Black History Month by highlighting and recognising the contributions of some Black British Humanitarians.
Celebrating the achievements of people is important. Throughout our 150-year history, we have had countless kind and resilient volunteers work with us at the British Red Cross. These people are recognised for their kindness. We celebrate Black History Month by highlighting and recognising the contributions of some Black British Humanitarians.
Use the activities below to discover some exceptional British Red Cross volunteers and people who have helped others and the world with their kind acts and voluntary service.
- discover the work of Black humanitarians on British society
- reflect on our assumptions about people and challenge stereotypes
- think about the resilience and kindness of people
- celebrate people's stories and achievements and reflect on the qualities of a humanitarian.
1. Starter activity: What does a humanitarian look like?
Encourage young people to explore what a 'humanitarian' means to them – draw out the idea of 'humanity' and being 'kind' and 'resilient'. Discuss the concept of 'unconscious bias' and how it impacts people.
2. Discussion activity: Humanitarian stories
Introduce learners to the life and work of some of the humanitarians of the Red Cross. This could be group work or completed as a whole class. Consider the following questions:
- What makes these people humanitarians?
- What kind acts did they do?
- What makes them resilient?
3. Extension activity: Humanitarians now
Encourage learners to research current people they consider to be humanitarians or that they admire for their good work.
Ask students why they chose these people, what makes them a humanitarian.
Reflect together on the importance of celebrating Black history and Black humanitarians.