Oxford City Council celebrates Black History Month

Published: Wednesday, 30th September 2020

Black History Month recognises the ways in which people of African and Caribbean descent have both shaped our history and contribute to our shared history, rich culture and communities in Oxford.

Oxford City Council is celebrating Black History Month throughout October.

Making sure the Museum of Oxford reflects ALL our history

This year, Oxford City Council, the Museum of Oxford and Oxford Direct Services are working to “decolonise” our understanding of history, and to develop practical ways to instil a greater awareness of structural racism and anti-racism in our organisations. The museum is also now collecting stories relating to the Black Lives Matter and Rhodes Must Fall campaigns (the campaign to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oriel College). 

Work on developing the museum’s Windrush Generation collection and on embedding best practice in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Council and across the city is a commitment that extends well beyond October.  However, Black History Month offers an invaluable opportunity to highlight and celebrate the amazing work of community members, artists and cultural organisations in this city.

Our Black History Month celebrations

We begin Black History Month by offering insight into the Windrush Years - highlighting the Museum of Oxford’s ‘Next Generations’ online exhibition, developed in collaboration with the Afrikan and Caribbean Kultural Heritage Initiative (ACKHI) and the Ber-Bedo Kelo Lonyo United Women’s Organisation (BKLUWO) group.

Michelle Codrington-Rogers, a Citizenship Teacher at Cherwell School in Oxford, the first black national president of the NASUWT teachers’ union and a member of the Oriel Review Group considering the future of the Rhodes Statue, will delve into what it means to decolonise education and reflect on her own lived experiences.

Celebrated Oxford grime artist Leonidas will feature, offering music and a series of interviews on his upbringing in Blackbird Leys, his work with Oxford City Council’s Youth Ambition team and reflection on what Black History Month means to him. 

Interviews with local people from a variety of BAME communities including young people and Councillors Chewe Munkonge  and Shaista Aziz.

Due to the continued COVID-19 restrictions, all events will be online this year.  Please see the Museum of Oxford’s website and our social media for further information.

“It’s particularly important that we celebrate Black History Month at such a significant moment in our own times. Our museum staff are working hard to diversify our museum, collecting stories relating to the Black Lives Matter and Rhodes Must Fall campaigns. 

“I would encourage everyone in Oxford to get involved in celebrating Black History Month. This provides a fantastic opportunity to engage with the rich history and culture of our African and Caribbean communities here in Oxford. With museum exhibitions, speakers and music on offer, there really is something for everyone to learn from and to enjoy.”

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council