Black History Month (BHM) is an educational initiative whose aim is to celebrate the contributions of black people in history. Its aims are therefore curricular and socio-political. It began in America in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and was adopted in Britain in 1987 under the aegis of the GLC. It takes place in the month of October.
The curricular aim is to expand reading/content to include accounts that have been ignored or only briefly acknowledged in the curriculum. The socio-political aim is an aspiration to improve the social status of black people today.
While the curriculum always involves a selection of texts and accounts from a vast range, we do not believe that this selection is always and wholly a result of unequal power relations in society. But we do think the curriculum needs improving to take account of new developments in knowledge. Our contribution is far from comprehensive, but it provides some ways of addressing history in ways which take account of some developments in historiography and substantive knowledge.
Calvin Robinson’s contribution focuses on the role of the Commonwealth in World War II, thus extending curriculum content.
Alka Sehgal Cuthbert’s KS3 resource considers Britain’s empire in India as the product of multiple factors within India and Britain. Empire is seen as a product developed relationally by events and people in both India and Britain.
And Tarjinder Gill has compiled a list of resources for primary level.
This is a small start, and we hope others will join us in improving and extending resources that can help teachers introduce pupils to historical thinking and specificity.
Tarjinder Gill is a primary school teacher who has worked in London, Great Yarmouth and the Midlands.
Calvin Robinson is a school governor, education consultant and former Assistant Principal.
Alka Sehgal Cuthbert is a teacher, researcher and writer on educational issues.
Download Alka Sehgal Cuthbert’s KS3 slide stack about India and the British Empire. Click the relevant link