Black History month 2018

October is Black History Month, which is an annual celebration to commemorate the achievements of black people and communities who throughout history have often been undervalued and forgotten.

Articles

Esther's Blog: Black History Month Maya Angelou Poems

 

Events

Fugitive slaves Hear my voice Decolonising The Curriculum black Panther Black Feminists Black Feminists Black Feminists Black Feminists

Inspirational People

Fanny Eaton Jon Edmonstone Olaudah Equiano Evelyn Dove William Cuffay Stuart Hall Joan Armatrading Olive Morris Zaide Smith Wiley James Berry Lewis Latimer Serena Williams Venus Williams Michelle Obama Muhammad Ali Wangari Maathai John Henrik Clarke Kofi Anan Mo Farah Letitia Wright  Lupita Nyong'o Tarana Burke 24 Amina Moghe Hersi Eugenia Charles Philis Wheatley Elmira Minita Gordon Florenz Maxwell Mo Farah Zadie Smith
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Fanny eaton

 

Born to formerly enslaved parents in Jamaica, Fanny Eaton (1835 – 1924) was a portrait model at London’s Royal Academy, sitting for famous artists like John Millais and Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Eaton’s contribution to art history is huge, coming at a time when narrow, racialised beauty standards almost uniformly excluded black women.

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John Edmonstone

 

Born into slavery in Guyana, as a free man later in life John Edmonstone taught at Edinburgh University, where he taught a young Charles Darwin taxidermy and helped inspire a passion for the tropics in the future father of evolutionary science. Without Edmonstone, Drawin may never have hit onto the idea of natural selection in the Galapagos.

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Olaudah Equiano

 

Equiano (died 1797) was either born into slavery or enslaved as a child. He escaped slavery in 1766 by purchasing his freedom, and in 1789 published one of the first detailed, honest first-hand accounts of enslaved life. His book and activism helped end the British slave trade.

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Evelyn Dove

 

Evelyn Dove (1902 – 1987) was an internationally renowned cabaret star. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music, and performed with some of the world’s leading black artists, at the time rivalling the fame of jazz star Josephine Baker. Dove’s success depended upon her overcoming the immense racial prejudices of the day.

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William Cuffay

 

Existing content from last year; re-use. Change his description from “Former slave” to “Chartist”; change “son of a former slave” to “son of someone formerly enslaved”.

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Stuart Hall

 

Hailed as “the godfather of multiculturalism", Stuart Hall (1932 – 2014) founded The New Left Review and transformed the academic study of culture within British academia. He established the first Cultural Studies course in the UK and became one of the UK’s foremost black political activists in his lifetime.

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Joan Armatrading

 

Joan Armatrading (1950 – present) was the first ever female UK artist to be nominated for a Grammy in the blues category. Originally from St Kitts, Armatrading starting writing music at 14, and taught herself to play the guitar. She holds eight honourary degrees.

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Olive Morris

 

Olive Morris (1952 – 1979) was a civil rights campaigner from Brixton, who founded multiple black womens’ groups in London and Manchester. She won a place to study at the University of Manchester despite having no school qualifications, and made immense contributions to black communities. She died of cancer aged just 27 in 1979.

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Zadie Smith

 

Since the release of her debut novel when she was just 24, Zadie Smith (1975 – present) has been regarded as one of the leading literary voices of her generation for novels like White Teeth and On Beauty. Smith's writing, informed by her background with its distinct racial and class intersections, provides profound insights into identity, and the human condition more expansively. She now teaches at New York University.

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Wiley

 

Wiley (1979 – present) is widely considered the Godfather of Grime. He enjoyed success in grime and garage groups, and as a solo artist. He has been noted for his altruism, supporting numerous other artists both financially and musically. From the mid-90s, he has been instrumental in creating a new sonic aesthetic, drawing on the reggae his father played.

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James Berry

 

James Berry OBE (1924 – 2017) was a renowned poet whose work was heavily inspired by the language and culture of his native Jamaica. He was one of the first black writers in Britain to achieve widespread recognition, his work playing on the cultural contrasts between his two homes, whilst celebrating unity in diversity.

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Lewis Latimer

 

Lewis Latimer (1848 – 1928) was the child of a famous escaped slave from Virginia, George. Latimer taught himself mechanical drawing whilst working at a patent law firm, and around 1881, worked alongside Hiram Maxim where he helped invent the first seriously viable incandescent lightbulb. He also drew the patent for Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone.

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Serena Williams

 

Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American professional tennis player currently ranked as the 22nd best player in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). She won her first major championship in 1999 and completed the career Grand Slam in 2003. In 2017, she defeated her sister at the Australian Open to claim the 23rd Grand Slam singles title of her career.

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Venus Williams

 

Venus Williams rose from a tough childhood in Compton, Los Angeles, to become a champion women's tennis player and four-time Olympic gold medallist. Venus, along with her younger sister, Serena, has redefined women's tennis with her strength and superb athleticism. Born in 1980, in Lynwood, California, Venus Williams learned to play tennis on the public courts of Los Angeles. After turning professional in 1994, she won seven Grand Slam titles. Alongside her sister she has gone on to win several doubles championships, boosting her victory total even after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2011

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Michelle Obama

 

Michelle Obama is an American lawyer and writer who served as the First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She is married to the 44th U.S. President, Barack Obama, and was the first African-American First Lady. Born in 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. She attended Princeton University, graduating cum laude in 1985, and went on to earn a degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. As first lady, she focused her attention on current social issues, such as poverty, healthy living and education.

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Muhammad Ali

 

Ali (born Cassius Clay) was a boxer, philanthropist and social activist who is universally regarded as one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. Ali became an Olympic gold medalist in 1960 and the world heavyweight boxing champion in 1964. Following his suspension for refusing military service, Ali reclaimed the heavyweight title twice during the 1970s, winning famed bouts against Joe Frazier and George Foreman along the way. Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1984, Ali devoted much of his time to philanthropy, earning the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. Ali died on June 3, 2016

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Wangari Maathai

 

Wangari Maathai (1940 – 2011) was a Kenyan politician and environmentalist. In 1977, she launched the Green Belt Movement to reforest her beloved country while helping the nation's women. Proving to be very successful, the movement is responsible for the planting of more than 30 million trees in Kenya and providing roughly 30,000 women with new skills and opportunities. Maathai was a Kenyan government minister from 2003 – 2005, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.

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John Henrik Clarke

 

Dr. John Henrik Clarke (1915 – 1998) was a Pan-Africanist historian and academic, who became hugely influential to the Black Power Movement of the 1960s. Largely self-taught and lacking formal qualifications, Clarke built an academic career against the odds, which he used to actively challenge eurocentricity in the study of history and help re-centre black experience in the teaching of African history

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Kofi Annan

 

Kofi Annan (1938 – 2018) was Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006, and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Annan was an extremely accomplished and widely respected Ghanaian diplomat, and as Secretary-General was praised for his work on human rights, anti-poverty work and tackling preventable disease.

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Mo Farah

 

Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama "Mo" Farah, was born on 23 March 1983 in Somaliland. As the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medallist in both the 5000 m and 10,000 m He is the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history. Farah was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2013 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to athletics

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Letitia Wright

 

Letitia Wright (1993 – present) is one of the stars of the hugely successful Black Panther, in which she portrayed Shuri, the brilliant Wakandan princess-turned-scientist. Wright has also had a busy career in British television, appearing on shows such as Doctor Who, Black Mirror and Humans and appeared in high profile films such as Avengers: Infinity War, Urban Hymn, and Ready Player One. She's open about her Christian faith, and has shared that this faith helped her when she was suffering from depression.

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Lupita Nyong'o

 

Lupita Nyong'o (1983 – present) is a Kenyan-Mexican actress widely known for her roles in 12 Years a Slave, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Black Panther. She started acting as a teen in Kenya and won the 2014 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in 12 Years. In 2019, she will join the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Tarana Burke

 

Tarana Burke (1973 – present) is a civil rights activist who launched the original ‘Me Too’ movement in 2006. A champion for the rights of women and girls, Burke was one of a group of activists for womens’ liberation named Time’s Person of the Year in 2017. She currently serves at the Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn as its Senior Director.

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Amina Moghe Hersi

 

Somali by birth, Amina Hersi Moghe (1964 – present) is a prominent entrepreneur who has sponsored numerous major investments in Uganada. Moghe built her fortune in cement and soft commodities, and is currently developing a $120million sugar factory in Uganda’s northern region.

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Eugenia Charles

 

Eugenia Charles (1919 – 2005) was the first woman lawyer in Dominica’s history. She helped found the conservative Dominica Freedom Party, and in 1980 became first black woman in global history to win a national election. She served until 1995, a record of continuous service rivalled by no woman world leader since.

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Philis Wheatley

 

Philis Wheatley (c1753 – present) is the first known woman African American author. Taken into slavery as a child, she published a book of religious poetry in 1773 that was widely acclaimed across the English speaking world, though she saw little financial benefit. Her work was routinely challenged by contemporary racists who claimed it must have been the work of a white writer Wheatley had stolen from.

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Elmira Minita Gordon

 

Dame Elmira Minita Gordon (1930 – present) became the first black woman Head of State in the world in 1981, as Governor-General of Belize. She served for 12 years. Before this she became the first Belizean to earn a doctorate in Psychology.

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Shirley Chisholm

 

Shirley Chisholm (1924 – 2005) was the first black woman elected to the US Congress, representing New York’s 12th District from 1969 to 1983 and winning seven back to back elections. She paved the way for black women in US politics. In the 1972 election, 36 years before Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, she became both the first black person and the first woman Democrat to seek a major party’s nomination for US President.

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Florenz Maxwell

 

A Bermudan author and activist, in 1959 Florenz Maxwell was part of a group of young people who organised a cinema boycott in protest at racial segregation on the island. The boycott grew into an island-wide protest movement and within weeks, segregation in Bermuda became a thing of the past, as business after business agreed to serve black customers.

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Jennifer Smith

 

Dame Jennifer Smith (1947 – present) is a Bermudan journalist and politician. She made history at her country’s 1998 general election when she lead the Progressive Labour Party party to victory and ended 40 years of uninterrupted rule by the historically white-dominated United Bermuda Party.