In early October, the University of Manchester, along with the rest of the country, will host a series of events to celebrate Black History Month in recognition of the achievements of ethnic minorities throughout history and the barriers that they must still overcome.
Events will begin with a Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Staff and Students’ Network, and will include talks from Dr. Sivamohan Valluvan on ‘The Politics of Race’, as well as Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford and poet Mark Samuels on ‘The Civilisations of Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond’.
Founded in the UK in 1987, Black History Month not only recognises historical figures from ethnic minorities, but also shapes the contemporary debate on the situation of ethnic minorities within Britain today.
At the University of Manchester, in light of increasing Islamophobia within the UK and new government legislation such as Prevent, which allows the use of anti-terrorism surveillance in higher education, many of the events will focus on the experience of ethnic minorities living and studying in the country.
According to the NUS Hate Crime Interim Report, 16 per cent of all students who responded to the survey had experienced a hate-related incident at their current place of study, and when added to the deteriorating political situation in Africa and the Middle East and the inhumane treatment of refugees who are trying to enter the EU, recognition of the importance of ethnic minorities within society has taken on new significance.
Other events include a talk from local historian Dominique Tressier on the University of Manchester’s involvement with minority individuals and groups throughout history, a Know Your Rights workshop led by Simon Pook and Green and Black Cross, and a talk by Dr Natalie Zacek on the ‘Relationship between Manchester and slavery’.