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01 Oct

REPL Celebrates Black History Month

BHM Post 1

What is Black History Month? 

The story of  Black History Month dates back to 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment  abolished slaveryin the United States.

At that time, an African American historian named Carter G. Woodson, often credited as being the “father of black history”, set out to challenge the preconception that ‘the negro has no history’.  

With a belief that the teaching and preservation of black history and culture are a vital part of understanding race and society, Woodson  founded The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History) and initiated “Negro History Week” in the US.  

Over the years, this inaugural celebration has grown into a month of teaching, recognition and  celebration of the history, accomplishments and contributions that black people have made within the western world, whilst highlighting the challenges back people face in today’s world.  

Almost a century on from initiation, Woodson’s original motivations are still at the heart of what has become an annual observation across the globe: “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” 

When is it celebrated? 

Black History Month (BHM) is celebrated in different months thought the year:  

  • The US celebrate BHM in February in line with the birthdays of former US President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass fall within this month. First officially recognised in 1976, President Gerald Ford called upon the American public to use BHM to: “seize the opportunity to honour the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavour throughout our history.” 
  • In 1995, Canada’s government also recognised February as BHM  
  • In the UK, BHM was first celebrated in 1987 through an event organised by Ghanaian-born Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, it’s now annually observed in October 
  • The annual observance is also commemorated in other parts of Europe during October, including Ireland and the Netherlands. 

What’s happening now? 

This year in the UK the theme for Black History Month is “Dig Deeper, Look Closer, Think Bigger” and it will be commemorated across the country through various events such as Heritage Tours, Online Courses, digital storytelling and more.  

How is REPL celebrating Black History Month? 

This month, we REPL, through EDAI, will be honouring Woodson’s motivations and this year’s UK theme, to promote open and honest conversations about race whilst educating our colleagues and giving colleagues a reason to celebrate. 

Focused on black history, breaking stereotypes, and celebrating success despite adversity, we have a variety of content and events that we’ll be sharing throughout the month.  

Watch out for:  

  • Interesting facts and opinion pieces 
  • Videos about what black history means to our black colleagues 
  • Training and Interactive sessions that you can partake in 
  • And importantly, absorb so that you may “Dig Deeper, Look Closer and Think Bigger”.  

The REPL Black History Month branding equally reflects and honours black history. The figures are inspired by the artist Jacob Lawrence and the font is designed by the artist Tres Seals, inspired by Martin Luther King and used by another black artist Gail Anderson. 

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