Parts of this paper were read out by Addai-Sebo’s former Greater London Council and London Strategic Policy Unit race unit boss and BHM UK supporter Ansel Wong during his presentation at the BlackHistoryMonth.org.uk/Sugar Media organised BHM UK @ 30 reception at the House Of Lords on Oct. 23 2017.
This paper was supposed to be presented at the African History Month UK Network Conference, which took place on Nov. 18 2017 at Unite The Union HQ. This version has links to resources suggested by Addai-Sebo to enhance the presentation.
Our Black History Month – Our Story
Message From Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, founder, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Black History Month (UK)
Black History Month is Our Story – the story of members of the human race of African origin classified as “Blacks” and their contributions to the development and growth of civilisations from antiquity to the present. And in the specific case of Britain, our Black History Month is our stories, as chronicled and retold of our innovative accomplishments and contributions to the socio-economic, political, industrial, scientific, technological, religious and the general material and spiritual life and well-being of this our commonwealth aptly called the United Kingdom.
The facts of the enormous contributions of Africans “both at home and abroad” and of their natural resources to the generation and distribution of wealth, social welfare, general development and growth of this United Kingdom, Europe, the Americas and also the Judo-Christian and Islamic Middle East, can and must no longer be hidden under the bushel.
By hiding the truth of the contributions of Africans “both at home and abroad”, our children growing up in this our United Kingdom and elsewhere, are purposefully denied that critical “self-confidence” stimulus essential to the free development and growth of any child in any elevating society.
Therefore, the African child along with the “White” or Caucasian child, from the cradle, growing up in this our United Kingdom must be fed and nurtured in the communion of the accomplishments and contributions of Africa and all peoples of African descent to the development and growth of British society and the world we live in. It is through this breast milk of truth and demands of peaceful coexistence in relation to harmonious race relations and equal opportunity and access that the social purposes of politics and governance are fulfilled and held sacrosanct for the future security of succeeding generations and the stability of our commonwealth.
To give meaning and teeth to the Race Relations and Equality Acts, it is the institutional recognition and propagation of the contributions of all peoples of African descent to the stock of value systems and way of life of British society that will make black life to matter to the Black child and White child. It is the assertion and affirmation of this truth that “Black Life Matters” in all areas of national life that Black History Month presents an engaging space of mutual reflection, examination, evaluation, planning and action to free society of the vestiges of imperialism and colonialism in order to reorder society in our collective national interest.
Black History Month calls on the rest of British society to pull out of their archives, basements and lofts the evidence of their ancestors’ encounter with Africa plus the tell-tale treasures, iconic monuments, images and jewellery that thus hidden continue to suppress, defile and destroy indigenous African advances in the arts, agriculture, architecture, clothing, industry, science, technology and medicine. The hidden hereditary motifs, cultural insignia and recorded familiar family accounts that attest to the abiding “humanity” and industry of the African should now come out in the open as part of the sum total of British life and civilisation. It is this coming out that will cause a healing and reconnection and celebration of our common humanity and give meaning and real value to Great Britain.
Black History Month poses such challenge to the rest of British society every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week and month as made manifest by the cyclical month of October or the period of the Autumn Equinox so propitious to the communal life of the African. October is the harvest period and a period of self-examination and renewal for peaceful coexistence.
October is therefore the month of national appraisal of the STATE OF BLACK BRITAIN and the renewal of vows and commitments. The African community must be recognised, empowered and celebrated as the English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish communities coexisting as British. By African is meant all peoples of African descent.
Unless you let this “Little Light of yours shine”, you will invariably be contributing to the extinguishing from history the enlightenment of your race classified as “Black” by the very race that classify themselves as “White”, according to their segregation of humanity along the “colour-line” which continues to be the problem of the Twenty-First Century (as enunciated by Dr. W.E.B. DuBois of the 20th Century).
It is not the abiding responsibility of those who have divided humanity along racial lines for their economic benefits to purge themselves of such “supremacist” mindset and callings to give functional meaning to the Race Relations and Equality Acts. It is rather the abiding responsibility of the victims of racism to mentally free themselves for their light to shine. Our “Negro” Spirituals bid that “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, shine, shine, let it shine…”. Such self-awakening and of the Souls of Black Folk is our redemption. Go, go, “Go And Tell It On The Mountain”!!!
The future security and sound development of Africa lies in the awakened consciousness of the African Diaspora that their welfare and sense of security is linked up with that of Africa, and that their collective security is bound to the cause of total political and economic liberation and unification of Africa under a single union government. It is the mission of the African diplomatic corps in the United Kingdom along with their trade, commercial, consular, cultural and security sections to consciously engage with their Diaspora communities to enrich, preserve and sustain the African Personality and heritage.
By Diaspora communities is meant all peoples of African descent be they born in the Caribbean, Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa itself, as congregated in this United Kingdom. It is this conscious intermingling and distillation of our common purpose and destiny that assures the security of our one humanity. Our presence is evidence of the factor of a historical encounter that is ongoing.
Black History Month seeks to establish a common ground to attain that common purpose in shared values in our way of life for the re-ordering of British society for freedom and justice to prevail at all times so as to ensure that society is purged of discrimination, marginalisation, inequality, injustice and racism. To achieve this desirable goal, as enshrined in the Race Relations and Equalities Acts, there must be carried out by the state a systemic root and branch national curriculum change from lullabies, nursery rhymes and catechism to tertiary education courses, tutorials, research and development programmes so that purposeful, balanced and measurable change can be felt and appreciated by all to the cause of our one humanity.
Black History Month seeks to extend the boundaries of freedom and justice in the history of Black presence and experience in this our United Kingdom. Black History Month is a celebration of the magnificence of cultural diversity and the enriching value in peaceful co-existence. To the African mind, to achieve harmony both the black and white keys of the organ must be in tune.
©Akyaaba Addai-Sebo 27/09/17, Asofan, Ga West, Greater Accra, Ghana.
Click to watch BHM UK Conceiver Addai Sebo Message To AHMUK Launch 13 05 17
Click to read African History Month Discussion Paper 2
Click to read African History Month Discussion Paper 1