Celebrating Black History: The Inspiration behind "Black History and Me"
October 23, 2023
Black History and Me is an organisation and brand based in the UK that aims to educate and inspire children and communities about Black history using poster designs.
Co-founded by singer, songwriter and poet Jahméne Douglas and historian Kayne Kawasaki, Black History and Me spotlights the historical achievements and contributions to society made by black trailblazers.
1. Tell us about your work and what kind of impact you think it has on communities.
Here at Black History And Me we believe in shining a light on the people who’ve made an impact from the Black community here in the United Kingdom. By showing their faces, sharing their names and who they were, across our poster designs, we hope to inspire a better understanding of the Black British identity to build a stronger connection to the long-standing Black history we have here in the United Kingdom.
2. What Black Activists, Abolitionists, Artists Or Change-Makers (Past Or Present) Inspired You And Your Work?
What inspired us more so was the fact that we did not know all of the Black figures we’ve researched and the lack of historical Black UK representation across the national curriculum encourages us to dive deeper, read more, learn more and share those peoples stories. With that said however, our poster designs kicked off with Jamaican born Physician and civil rights activist Harold Moody; who established the civil rights organisation the ‘League Of Coloured Peoples’ in 1931.
3. Why is celebrating the contributions of leading black figures and trailblazers important?
Equality & Unity: Removing Black stories from history and not shining a light on the achievements from the Black community is dangerously dehumanising and reduces Black history to the story of the enslavement of Africans during the transatlantic slave trade. Although that history should never be minimised, it should also not be the only narrative defining Black History. In order to combat ignorance we believe in highlighting the contributions, importance and impact that the black community has had and continues to have in the U.K.
Marcus Garvey once wrote, “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” In order to become a thriving system with intertwined fruitful branches, it’s paramount that our young people are taught of the roots they’re building upon for the purpose of progressing forward with a sense of unity, connection, pride, self-respect, accountability and responsibility. Seeing yourself positively reflected in the past and present will instill a healthier and more assured self-identity and awareness.
4. What is your hope for the future regarding addressing historical injustices for black communities?
Here at Black History And Me our hope is that UK Black History will become mandatory study as a part of the UK national curriculum. At present UK Black History is only mandatory in Wales. Currently in Scotland and England there is no standardisation. As a result not all children are receiving the same level of UK Black History education which further wedges a division of ignorance and widens the disparities between our young people. Wherever there’s a break down in healthy communication, there will most likely be a broken unhealthy relationship and it’s time that line of communication is addressed with the intention for us to thrive as one.