In February, Black History Month is celebrated across America, and we celebrate it five days a week on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Across the pond, our United Kingdom brothers and sisters also celebrate their version of Black History Month, which began on this day in 1987.
The annual celebration was the work of Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, an analyst for the Greater London Council of Ghanaian descent. Addai-Sebo was inspired to start a monthly celebration after a colleague of his at the GLC said that her son, who was named after Marcus Garvey, wondered aloud why he wasn’t born white.
Using the U.S. version of Black History Month as a guideline, Addai-Sebo began inviting figures such as American historian John Henrik Clarke and psychiatrist Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, among several others, to lecture across London about Black history with the help of the GLC and the London Strategic Policy Unit. These lectures were compiled into a book titled Our Story edited by Addai-Sebo and Ansel Wong.
For the official start of the celebration, Addai-Sebo invited Dr. Maulana Karenga to be its keynote speaker. In an interview, Addai-Sebo said he selected Karenga due to the global success of his annual Kwanzaa celebration and how the celebration of Black pride could similarly transform the United Kingdom. In its early days, the celebration was largely confined to London before expanding to the city’s outer boroughs.
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Little Known Black History Fact: U.K. Black History Month was originally published on blackamericaweb.com