Black History Month begins on 1 October as an annual observance, originating in the United States, but now officially recognised by governments in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK.
The month gives opportunity for full recognition of the contributions and achievements of the UK’s black community, although organisers say they hope “the events of 2020 will be a catalyst for black history to be shared much more widely” and not just in a single month of the year.
Boris Johnson said in a statement on 24 September: “For countless generations people of African and Caribbean descent have been shaping our nation’s story, making a huge difference to our national and cultural life and helping to make Britain a better place to be.”
In 2020 much discussion has focused on the Black Lives Matter movement and global demonstrations against police violence and racial injustice, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
Although Floyd’s death was a spark for renewed protest, his death was not an isolated incident; and threw a spotlight on the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and many others.
Generation after generation, activists have sought to make a change and highlight the racial disparities and systemic racism that exists in society.
From abolitionist Harriet Tubman to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, there have been thousands of men and women who have fought against racial oppression over the years by providing an insight into the lived experiences of black people and calling on populations to be actively anti-racist in their attitudes.
Click through the gallery above to read some words on racial injustice from black activists throughout history.