Black History Month

Queen Mary celebrates Black History Month

Throughout October, Queen Mary has marked Black History Month by highlighting the successes, culture and stories of Black people in the UK and around the world.

Research and discovery: understanding Black histories

Arthur Torrington CBE, a community advocate, and a co-founder of Windrush Foundation and The Equiano Society, talks with our Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Heidi Downes from our Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine wrote an opinion piece about the role of young, black, enslaved women in a series of experimental surgeries in the 19th century, and why she is calling for their contributions to be formally recognised. This was originally published on The Conversation.

Laurence Gouldbourne, our Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion interviewed Arthur Torrington CBE, a community advocate, and a co-founder (with the late Sam B King MBE) of Windrush Foundation and The Equiano Society. Through Windrush Foundation, a registered charity, Arthur promotes good race and community relations, and designs projects that celebrate the history and heritage of African and Caribbean people.

The Mile End Institute brought together three emerging researchers on Black British History: Deanna Lyncook (The History Hotline podcast) Olivia Wyatt (Young Historians Project) and Satya Gunput (Birkbeck, University of London and Hisnameissatya blog) for a panel discussion on ‘New Directions in Black British History’. The panel discussed their current research and touched on their experiences studying Black British history in the context of Black Lives Matter and Covid-19.

Dr Joseph Cronin from Queen Mary's Department of History recorded a podcast focused on the history of Black people in Germany, and the ways in which Black Germans coped with the unique situation they faced in Hitler's 'racial state'. Compared to the Nazis' treatment of Jews, Sinti and Roma, LGBTQ+ and disabled people, we know very little about the experiences of Black people in Germany under the Nazi regime (1933–45).

Discover the complete Black History Month 2020 programme.

Making Black history at Queen Mary

Arthur Wint MBE (Medicine alumnus 1953 and Jamaica's first Olympic gold medalist)

This year staff and students celebrated the work of historical and contemporary Black contributors by sharing their nominations for our ‘People Profile Series’. We received over 20 nominations for the series, which included those from within our Queen Mary community - such as Arthur Wint MBE (1953 medical graduate and Jamaica’s first Olympic gold medalist) and Deanna Lyncook (2018 history and English graduate who launched The History Hotline) - and beyond, including NASA’s first African-American engineer, Mary W Jackson.

Throughout the month our Alumni team shared a series of Instagram takeovers and dedicated alumni profiles across their blog and social media channels, celebrating our Black alumni. This included former History and Politics student Gavin Lewis, Managing Director at BlackRock and co-founder of the #TALKABOUTBLACK movement, which is dedicated to increasing the representation of Black individuals in the corporate world.

Celebrating Black culture

Our Queen Mary community were invited to share favourite books by Black authors, which were shared throughout the month.

An online art exhibition showcased works of talented UK artists both from the Black community and others whose work explores celebration within the “Black” diaspora. Check our works from Matthew Brazier, Morgan Malcolm aka Mrgzart and Joseph Ijoyemi.

The Queen Mary Students’ Union’s culture list is an opportunity to discover a great selection of Black films, books, TV shows and music that you can engage with. The Students’ Union also ran a programme of events throughout Black History Month, from Afroperuvian dance workshops to QMUL History Society’s lecture on ‘England’s Other Countrymen’.

Thank you to all the staff, students, speakers and artists that contributed to our celebration of Black History Month 2020.