What Black History Month Means to Me

October 3, 2022

By Jacqueline Deans

Black History Month to me is about reflecting on the past, present and the future of Black People in the UK and beyond.

It is a time when I reflect on the achievements of Black Pioneers such as Mary Seacole, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, and community leaders such as Bernie Grant and Darcus Howe (to name a few!) and how their individual and collective achievements have had an impact on OUR people, OUR communities, and OUR cities worldwide.

Black History Month to me is about owning and being proud of my Caribbean Heritage and most importantly my Blackness. It is a time when I, together with the Black community in my home city of Bradford, (and beyond) celebrate Black Culture and appreciate the achievements of our parents and grandparents, who were and still are, part of the Windrush Generation. Lest we forget the hardship and adversities experienced by these folk and how they confronted these difficulties with determination, pride, and unfailing humility.

Black History Month to me is talking about the things that don’t get spoken about such as racism, Black slavery and all that is forgotten to be taught in schools about BLACK HISTORY and its importance in WORLD HISTORY.

Black History Month to me is about my beloved mother and my beloved late father and the sacrifices they made when they left their 6 young children in Jamaica, to build a better life in England. It pains me to think how hard it must have been for them to not have held, seen or even spoken to their kin for years on end and how hard it must have been to try and belong in England, a country that had promised them prosperity and a better life to the one they had.

Black History Month to me is acknowledging that Black People are a part of this country’s history and recognising that Black People have built a culture within British Culture – this we cannot escape and should celebrate.

Jacqueline Deans is a family law practitioner at Exchange Chambers.