Welcome to Black History Month 2018

On behalf of the Sugar Media & Marketing Team I would like to welcome you all to the 2018 edition of Black History Month Magazine.

Patrick Vernon OBE

The magazine has a focus this year on the following key landmark dates which has an impact on Black Britons and our wider vibrant multicultural society in the UK:

  • 70th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush
  • 70th anniversary of the NHS
  • 60th anniversary of Notting Hill Riots
  • 50th anniversary of the 1968 Race Relations Act
  • 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s Speech Rivers of Blood
  • 50th anniversary of the Race Equality think tank, The Runnymede Trust.

The various articles, features and interviews will capture the different elements of this watershed moment in Black History and its impact especially in 2018 with the Windrush Scandal and our departure from the European Union in 2019.

In 2017 when we launched our last publication celebrating the 30th anniversary of Black History Month in the UK this lead to a debate within the community and in academic circles of the relevance and the importance of the BHM from its inception in 1987. As Editor, I tried to reflect the diversity of the different perspectives which again is picked by some of our contributors this year especially in the light of the government finally agreeing to a national Windrush Day from June 2019.

As a Company we have been thinking of this regarding the branding of the concept of Black History Month and the fact that there are over 4000 events up and down the country start in September and finish in January as part of a season. From schools, universities, local authorities, museums, archives, various community heritage projects and staff networks in the public and private sector they are all pushing the boundaries of Black History Month in timing and content. Whilst at the same time some local authorities and schools are either adopting a colour blind approach to all histories or because of austerity and cuts are reclassifying Black History Month and creating a one size fits all of multicultural history, which often is dumbing down and serves no real purpose for young people and the public. These authorities and schools are failing in their Public Sector Equality duty in promoting good race relations. Black History Month was established to cover the deficit in lack of historical content and representation of the achievement for African and Caribbean community in Britain. With no central coordination or consistent funding sadly Black History Month is derided and at times not valued by all.

It is very clear that in 2018 we are not in a post racial Britain with the issue of Anti-Semitism, Windrush Scandal, hate crime against migrants and LGBT community, over representation in mental health system, and rising stop and search against black people. I believe it is even more critical that we advance and promote the importance of Black British history and its connection to world history both past and present.

Through our various publications and online platforms, along with the relaunch of 100 Great Black Britons in 2019, we will promote 365 days of Black History with our limited resources. We will work with various stakeholders to share and communication events, features and blogs which will add value and continue the publication education beyond October.

We are committed to work in partnership with academics, activists, policy makers and the wider community to ensure Black History in taught at all levels from pre-school to doctorate level. Also we want to support any campaign that will change how Black History and the experience of the African diaspora community is valued and respected as part of the national narrative of this country.

Finally, I would like to thank our contributors, advertisers and production team in making this magazine a success. However, importantly we want to you as our readers and those who access our online version of the magazine to be part of a social movement to share promote, inform and educate so that Black History is one to be proud of and to defend to ensure it does not lose it instinctive value for all future generations.

Patrick Vernon
Black History Month 2018 Editor
Sugar Media and Marketing Limited