Dr Geraldine Brown Hosts Black History Month Seminar Series

Wednesday 30 September 2015

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Dr. Geraldine Brown, in partnership with Coventry University Black & Minority Ethnic Staff Network, hosted a series of seminars to mark Black History Month.

What is Black History Month?

Black History Month (BHM) is an International annual month that recognises and values the contribution of people and events in the history of the African diaspora, and has its roots in the USA in the early 20th century.

The genesis of the idea was put forward in 1926 by Carter G Woodson a Black American Historian and known as ‘Negro History Week’ with the notion of encouraging the teaching of Black History in public schools in the USA. Woodson viewed the teaching of Black history as a key in ensuring the physical and intellectual survival of Black People within broader society. Hence, BHM was conceived as a political act in terms to address the invisibility of Black History within the school system and the public sphere more broadly. On crossing the Atlantic to the UK, in 1987, BHM is celebrated throughout October and has evolved as a means of recognizing and celebrating the histories and cultures of Black and ethnic minority communities.

CCSJ's BHM seminar series was a reminder of the political act of Carter Woodson that marked its beginning, providing an opportunity for consideration of the struggles that have led to racial advances witnessed in the UK and encouraging thinking about ways in which we can continue to work together for equality, peace and human liberation.

BHM seminar series

2015’s BHM seminar series sought to facilitate a series of conversations around a range of contemporary issues, which included looking at Black communities experiences and views of the: Criminal Justice System, Religion, Health, Education and Community Activism. The five seminars brought together academics, community activists, students and people living in local communities.

Each seminar offered opportunities for those attending to engage in conversations in which the experts were not merely those working within the Academy but expertise could be found in the views and experiences of those working in their local communities and amongst those with experiential knowledge of what it means to be Black in contemporary Britain.

Week 1 - Black communities and Criminal Justice

Dr. Geraldine Brown, Dr. Carver Anderson, Simeon Green

Week 2 - Black Communities and Faith

Dr. Joe Aldred, Dr Josephine Kwahli, Bringing Hope

Week 3 - Black girls/ women Health and Wellbeing

Dr Victoria Showumi, Dr. Jenny Douglas, Waits

Week 4 - Black Communities and Education

Dr. Louise Owusu Karteng, Dr. Richard Sargent, Dr. Gurnam Singh

Week 5 - Black Communities and Community Activism

Dr. Kehinde Andrews, Dr. Gurnam Singh

'The seminar series was well attended and served as a reminder of the importance of having ‘safe spaces’ in which people can freely share their views and experiences' said Dr Geraldine Brown. 'When equal attention is afforded to how we understand the social reality of Black and Minority communities, we are able to gain a more nuanced understanding about the realities of the lives of BME communities' strength and limitations associated with institutional responses to addressing and meeting their needs. This discourse helps us to consider new ways of ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ in terms of tackling inequality and injustice.'