October is Black History Month in the UK, which is the chance to recognise and celebrate the contribution of Black people to British culture and society. The theme for Black History Month 2023 is ‘Saluting Our Sisters’, shining a spotlight on those Black women who have often been forgotten or overlooked when it comes to their accomplishments in a range of fields, from social justice and business to music and literature.
This year the National Black History Month Poetry Competition is focused on celebrating Black women, with submissions open for poems about pioneering black women and the reason why they are inspirations. There’ll also be a whole host of events running throughout October, from film screenings to exhibitions to walking tours, so here’s how to get involved.
Riaz Phillips at Bodega Roti’s
Sarnie shop Boedga Rita’s is coming back for two weeks this October as its Caribbean alter-ego, Bodega Roti’s, to celebrate the release of Riaz Phillips’ new book, East Winds: Recipes, History and Tales from the Hidden Caribbean. Pop down to try different roti recipes from the book, including dal puri roti and the Trinidadian buss-up shot roti, paired with curry goat, curry chicken, curry shrimp, channa aloo and pumkin talkari. There’ll be homemade lime & ginger juice and hibiscus drinks to wash all that down with, and you’ll also be able to pick up a copy of Riaz’s new book too.
Weds 18th – Sat 28th October 2023
91 Cowcross St, London EC1M 6BH
Black History Month at the Museum of London Docklands
The Museum of London Docklands is celebrating Black History Month with two events running in October. The first is a screening of Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess, the documentary from Roy T. Anderson and Dr. Harecourt Fuller that tells the story of Nanny of the Maroons who led her people to victory over the British army in Jamaica. The second is Olivette Otele in-conversation with Renée Landell, talking about highlighting the role of Black women, like Queen Nzinga and Fanny Coker, in resistance, abolition and anti-colonial movements across the globe.
Fri 13th & Tues 24th October 2023
No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL
The Explorers Family Festival | Black Natural History
Discover the contributions that Black scientists, historians and communities have made to the study of natural history with this free festival at the Natural History Museum. There’ll be bespoke tours from museum staff, including a behind-the-scenes look at the African and Caribbean reptiles and a Black Natural History and Minerals Gallery tour, and you’ll also be able to learn traditional loom weaving techniques using Caribbean and African materials, explore the history of dinosaurs in Africa, and hear how leading environmentalists are fighting for climate justice.
Sun 8th October 2023
Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
Black Farmers Market
Founded last October by Natasha Pencil and Aisha Jade, who used to trade on Brixton Market until it closed in 2019, the Black Farmers Market is designed to showcase Black businesses and restore the historical culture of the area. Traders include Go Grow With Love, C&J Fishery, Lesley’s Sauces, The Kenyan Pig Farmer and Tahrapunzel.
Sun 9th October 2023, 10am – 4pm
Brixton Station Road, London, SW9 8PQ
HERE & NOW | Black History Month Exhibition
Alternative Arts is showcasing the work of Black British photographers with the HERE & NOW exhibition at Brady Arts Centre. Curated by Sarah Ainslie and Maggie Pinhorn, the show explores a range of topics inspired by African and Caribbean culture, including memories of a mixed-race childhood, Somali experiences and Nigerian cuisine, with pieces from the likes of Asiko, Raymond Daley, Tanesha Lewis, Trisha McCauley, Mohamed Mohamud, and Nicholas Olawunmi on display.
Fri 6th – Sat 28th October 2023
Brady Arts Centre, 192-196 Hanbury Street, London E1 5HU
Black History Walks
Black History Walks runs walking tours and talks around London all year long but this October there’s a Hackney Black History Walk that covers activism and civil rights in the area, black music history, revolution via reading, and gentrification. There’s also one at Tate Britain at the end of the month that traces the role of the Black presence in British art from the 1500s to today.
Sun 1st & Sun 29th October 2023
City of London: Slave Trade Money Trail Tour
Run by Black Rooted and led by historian Darrell Blake, this tour explores the links between the transatlantic slave trade and the City of London, diving into the way that chattel slavery and imports from the colonies kept the streets paved with gold and made merchants and bankers incredibly wealthy.
Sat 21st October 2023
City of London