Celebrating Black History Month 1998 image

Celebrating Black History Month 1998

BHM events in 1998 focused on the Windrush, the voyage that many Caribbean families took before they started their new lives in England.

African Caribbean Citizens Forum reports about BHM 1998 in Rapport Magazine:

This year, with support from the Arts and Leisure African Caribbean Task Group, Black History Month was the busiest ever and with a much higher profile.

A special pull-out supplement in ‘Link’ meant that every household in the City had the opportunity to know a bit more about Black History Month, its aims and the reason why it is necessary. This supplement included some facts from pre-history, early history and significant twentieth century dates in England and Leicester. Extracts from oral history, articles and a comprehensive listing reinforced the significance of Black History and gave the message that this should not be marginalised, but should be part of mainstream history teaching.

In the supplement’s leader, entitled ‘Let’s hear the whole story’ Chester Morrison summed up the situation:

“Black History Month is an opportunity for the whole community to get involved in programmes designed to raise awareness and understanding of Black people’s contribution to the development of the world. The aim of Black History Month is to arrive at a point where it is no longer relevant in its present format. For that to happen, schools must teach history in a way that it is balanced and inclusive. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all schools could commit themselves to make Black History Month superfluous. Can you think of a better commitment for the next millennium?”

A BIG THANK YOU to all organisations and individuals in the City who worked very hard to make Black History Month 1998 a great success.

At the time of going to press, RAPPORT only had full reports of some of events held earlier in the Month. Here’s a flavour…

Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze – a Words Out’ Literature Festival and Black History Month joint event.

Highfields Library was packed out with 85-90 members of the public, plus staff. Support was provided by Chester Morrison from Timiti Arts who performed his poetry.

Jean Binta Breeze entertained with a mixture of stories and poems, in particular a moving long poem concerning a girl Brighteye’ who had moved to England from Jamaica to join her mother and now as an adult faced the prospect of her mother’s return to Jamaica leaving her in England where she now had children and grandchildren herself. Not a dry eye in the house. Much of her work seemed to be exploring identity and place but was so human everyone in the audience whatever their background could find things in the work that they identified with. Jean’s final piece concerned cricket! She is a vital and moving performer and the buzz in the Library was incredible.

Jean’s agent has said that Jean came away on a real high “That Library was jumping”, she told them.

David Stickman’ Higgins – Words Out/Black History Month Event on Wednesday October 14th at Barleycroft Youth Centre.

Workshop: Around 20 six form English and drama students from Beaumont Leys School attended the workshop. They all seemed to enjoy themselves and the workshop sounded lively and loud and full of laughter. Stickman was pleased with what they had achieved. The teacher attended too and seemed happy with the results.

Performance: 40-50 teenagers packed the youth centre for the evening performance. Although they were clearly unsure what to expect and exhibited a great deal of nervous laughter Kim Thorrington assured us that they would have voted with their feet and left if they had not been enjoying themselves.

Stickman’s performance consisted of poetry, accompanied by drumming and other percussion and support was provided by Linda Deazle from Timiti Arts.

Jeronica McKenzie featured at the Big Names & New Talent on 7th October at the Y’.


African Caribbean Citizens Forum, ‘Black History Month 1998’, Rapport Magazine, Issue 2, November 1998, pp. 2 – 3.

Donated by Carol Varley: African Caribbean Citizens Forum