City celebrates Black History Month with landmark events


The City of London is celebrating Black History Month with events across the Square Mile throughout October, spanning the arts, business, literature, history, and so much more.

Black History Month is a momentous occasion to recognise and celebrate the invaluable contributions of Black people to UK society.

A wide range of events are held across the country celebrating African and African-Caribbean cultures, including everything from food festivals to music workshops, educational seminars, and lectures.

Highlights of the City’s programme include:

Talk: Black History Month Reception: Deputy Andrien Meyers, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Investment Committee, in conversation with Gavin Lewis, BlackRock Managing Director and author of The Opportunity Index: A Solution-Based Framework to Dismantle the Racial Wealth Gap, and Tim Campbell MBE, BBC Apprentice winner and founder of Bright Ideas Trust, a social enterprise which helps young entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds start businesses, (Guildhall, October 3, invitation only, to nominate a representative please see here).

Exhibition: The City Corporation’s London Metropolitan Archives: The Unforgotten Lives exhibition presents the stories of Londoners of African, Caribbean, Asian and Indigenous heritage who lived and worked in the city between 1560 and 1860 and are recorded in London’s archives. Exploring a range of experiences from the pages of the extraordinary manuscripts, prints and maps in its collections, these multi-layered stories speak of love, enterprise, wealth and family life; discrimination, hardship, resilience and resistance, (throughout October).
Film: UK Premiere – Don Lewis and the Live Electronic Orchestra + Q&A: The story of Don Lewis, the visionary who invented the Live Electronic Orchestra device, followed by a Q&A with his wife and the director, (Barbican Art Gallery, October 27).
Lectures: Gresham College: The series will focus on Black writing, from ‘Writing after Windrush ‘with Malachi McIntosh, to ‘Women of the Harlem Renaissance’ with Kate Dossett, and ‘Literary Activism in Contemporary Africa’ by Madhu Krishnan, (October 3/5/12).
Performance: Sancho&Me: An extraordinary performance by Paterson Joseph and Ben Park, revealing the incredible life of writer and composer Charles Ignatius Sancho in Georgian London, (London Metropolitan Archives, 24 October).
Performance: The Night Woman – Julene Robinson: A compelling new play about the power of Black womanhood, and the redemptive power of self-love, told through a captivating fusion of dance, singing and live music, (the Barbican Centre, October 19).
Walk: Black History in the City of London: A free guided walk by City of London Guides in partnership with the City Corporation. Uncover some of the Black history of the Square Mile through the ages, (throughout October).
Walk: Culture Mile BID – Black History Walk: The Culture Mile BID has commissioned renowned expert Tony Warner to curate and deliver a walking tour uncovering the fascinating stories of Black Londoners in this unique area of the Square Mile (18/24 October).

City of London Corporation Policy Chairman, Chris Hayward, said:

“Black History Month is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the huge contribution that Black people have made to London and the UK.

“The City is home to an extraordinary range of organisations and activities. What unites us all is our commitment to celebrating our diversity and creating a vibrant, inclusive environment where everyone belongs.”

Chair of the City Corporation’s Equality, Diversity, & Inclusion Sub-Committee, Andrien Meyers, said:

“This is a powerful opportunity to recognise, celebrate, and reflect on the invaluable contributions of Black people to our society.

“I’m proud that the City is uniting to recognise the UK’s African and African-Caribbean communities, and everything they have done to make London one of the most vibrant and successful places in the world.”