October is Black History Month. It’s designed to celebrate the significant contributions that Black and minority ethnic people have brought to our country – socially, economically and culturally.
The Black History Month website http://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/home/4578383287 is full of information about the contributions Black and minority ethnic people have made to our history.

Since this is 2014 – there’s a feature about black soldiers and how they helped Britain in the First World War.

There’s one on Black Parliamentarians in our own time – the historic election of four of them in 1987 – all Labour.

Diane Abbott - who made history as the first black woman elected to Parliament - one of those elected in 1987
Diane Abbott – who made history as the first black woman elected to Parliament – one of those elected in 1987

There’s a piece on Bill Morris – the first Black leader of a Trade Union. Another on Paul Boateng – the first Black Cabinet minister.

There’s one on World and Olympic Gold Medallist, Daley Thompson.

There’s a piece on Caribbean women and their importance in the NHS.

And much, much more.

There’s lots going on here in Leeds:

October 12th 2 p.m, The Leeds West Indian Centre DEALING WITH AGING Songs, ​Poems, Stalls, Free Food, Music
Skit by Margaret
GUEST SPEAKER – Fun for All

Leeds Uni Union has a series of events – details here http://www.leedsuniversityunion.org.uk/campaigns/bhm/

Leeds Beckett Uni is putting on its own programme http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/news/0914-black-history-month-celebrated-at-leeds-beckett/

Volition has a ‘fusion of dance, music, poetry performance, carnival costumes and much more!’ on 31 October 10 a.m to 1 p.m. in the Civic Hall
http://www.volition.org.uk/black-history-month-celebrations-2014/

Other events in Leeds are listed here http://www.leedsinspired.co.uk/culture-categories/black-history-month

Alex Sobel has had his share of involvement with the Black Community and its history in Leeds. He sat on the board of the CIty’s BME housing Association, Unity Housing. He has helped both the West Indian Centre and Carnival with funding and development, as well as working on a national campaign to commemorate the Bi-Centenary of the abolition of Slavery in 2007.

As he says

‘Our own City has as vibrant a history as any in terms of black history. It’s home, for example, to the oldest West Indian carnival in Europe.’

Ed Miliband has sent his own message
‘The rich cultures and traditions of the Black community here in the Britain, have for many years contributed to the diversity of our country and is key part of what makes Britain so unique.
Black History Month both educates and reminds us and new generations about how our society has been shaped. We will remember the legacy of Black history and the civil rights movement. We will remember the lives that were lost by those fighting for freedom and the messages of equality and freedom that have lived on.’

Our History is who we are – it’s our own shared memory as a community. Black History Month reminds us that that community – and its common past – includes Black people. And that means here in Leeds, too.

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