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In 1826, UCL was the first university to open its doors to students irrespective of their race, religion or gender. In 2013, UCLU was the first students’ union to have a full-time student officer dedicated to the representation of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students. This includes, amongst others, those from Aborigines, African, Asian, Arab and Caribbean heritages. We are now proud to present our fourth annual Black History Month, a celebration of the successes and achievements of BME communities. 

Black History Month 2016: What does it mean to be Black and British?

“So where are you from?” “Erm… Britain.” “No, where are you really from?”

This year, we ask the question ‘What does it mean to be Black and British?’ to help us think about the complex interplay between our identities. We also want to bring Black British history and politics to the scene. An exhibition held in the South Cloisters every day will pay tribute to this Black British movement.

In Britain, the issue of racism continues, in both its overt and covert, institutionalised forms. These will be brought to light in our ‘Blackademia’ and ‘Being Black in the NHS’ events, so we can learn about the ways in which racism continues in education and the workplace.

Black History Month is also an opportunity to celebrate BME students across UCL and their many talents. Most importantly, Black History Month is a time to chill. Everyone is invited to the BME Freshers’ Social, which is all about karaoke and making new friends.

The Black History Month Programme: 

Word Up: An Evening of Spoken Word

Date & time: Thursday 6th October, 6.30pm

Location: Bloomsbury Studio

Prepare to be inspired as Black artists ‘word up’ for an evening of spoken word. Their deep verses will tell stories of inequality, prejudice, racism and the many other struggles that come with being an ethnic minority. They will dispel stereotypes and provide raw but crucial details of being Black and British using the captivating aesthetics of word play. 
Entertainment and enlightenment - this an event not to be missed!

Get your tickets to reserve your place.

Being Black in the NHS

Date & time: Tuesday 11th October, 6pm

Location: Pearson G22

NHS was created in 1948, based on the ideal that healthcare should be available to all. Since then, the NHS has been a place for and served by people from many different cultures and backgrounds.Black people have played crucial roles in the development of our NHS and this country but it has not been an easy job and black people have not always been welcomed. Being Black in the NHS will take you on a journey that highlights the struggles faced by Black NHS staff, since its inception in 1948 up until today.
We will be joined by retired Caribbean Nurses, who have served the NHS since 1949, and by current Black staff members to understand the transition in work life for Black NHS staff…if any at all.

The Amazing History of Black People in London before 1948

Date & time: Wednesday 12th October, 6pm

Location: Gustav Tuck Lecture Theatre

This fascinating talk focuses on the hidden history of London and the contributions made by people of African and Caribbean descent to London in the areas of Literature, Politics, Music and Health & Welfare before 1948. Most people believe that Black people only came here in 1948. However, Black people have lived in Britain since Roman times. Moors were a common sight in Elizabethan England. There were great Black personalities in 18th and 19th century Britain also. 

We will cover key questions such as: Were Black people here in Roman times? What roles did Black people have in 17th century Britain? Who were the great Black personalities of the 18th and 19th centuries? What was that Black newspaper that operated out of Fleet Street in 1920? This talk will highlight the invaluable input people of African and Caribbean descent have provided to London, from the 17th century to 1948.

Freshers’ BME Network Social

Date & time: Friday 14th October

Location: Haldane Room

Calling all BME* students! If you identify as Black or Minority Ethnic and would like to meet others like yourself - then this is the social for you! There will be drinks, snacks and most importantly, cool people! So come along and chill with the coolest ;) 

*Black and minority ethnic refers includes but is not exclusive to African, Asian, Arab and Caribbean.

In the heart of every Black British woman is Beyoncé: Lemonade Screening

Date & time: Wednesday 19th October, 6pm

Location: Gustave Tuck

Lemonade is an album that looks at the psychology behind relationships, male projections of dominance, the manipulation of wives to subservience, motherhood and particularly motherhood to black children, and strength in formation among many, many other things. And so, we’re going to do a screening, with a discussion following. Make sure to come!

Beyond Jimi Hendrix: London’s History of Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll

Date & time: Monday 24th October, 7pm

Location: Chadwick G08

It is well known that the blues originated from African Americans in the deep south, however when it came to England the names associated were overwhelmingly White: The Rolling Stone, Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin to name a few. While Jimi Hendrix features in this list, as he famously moved to London, the Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll genre has, as a whole, been whitewashed. 

This event aims to breakdown the whitewashing of this genre and bring to light the amazing black musicians, who not only influenced the big British bands but also played at the same time in and around London.

Blackademia: A Panel Event and Open Discussion for Critical Race

Date & time: Tuesday 25th October, 6pm

Location: North Quad Marquee

Blackademia is a space to discuss the ‘White curriculum’ problem and suggest ways to liberate it. We will be joined by academics interested in the field, who will touch upon themes such as the ethnic attainment gap, intersectional identities of women of colour, current examples of representative curricula, impact of Prevent strategy on academic freedom and much more. Join us for what we hope to be an empowering conversation.

Women of Colour: Embrace the Melanin

Date & Time: Thursday 27th October, 6.30pm

Location: Chadwick G08

Everyone is invited to learn about the intersectional identities of Black women. We will touch upon many themes such as the interpretation of feminism, Black women’s role in feminism (e.g. Yarlswood), Black Muslim women, the concept of Sisterhood, Black hair, antiblackness, cultural appropriation and much more. Too often we hear demands like “Straighten Black hair!”, “Make them fair!”, “Ban the Burkini!” and “Teach them English!”, which are all poor attempts to liberate women of colour and do nothing but oppress women. True liberation comes from having your identity understood and appreciated. ‘Women of Colour: Embrace the Melanin’ is an opportunity for us all to appreciate Black Women, their struggles and contributions to society.

So join us for this interesting talk/discussion and remember to embrace the melanin ;)

BME Alumni Networking: A discussion about being BME and British 

Date & Time: Monday 31st October, 6pm

Location: North Quad Marquee

Come along and meet UCL Alumni to discuss what it means to be BME and British.