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What Black History Month Means To Me

Student Quotes

Black History Month means to me, that we are all recognised and treated equally. Awareness is spread about those black people who have showed so much excellence in what they do. It has proved that everyone is capable of doing everything, whether they are black or white. 

Black history month has made the black people stand out and shown everyone how special they are, the colour of their skin does not matter! All that matters is the resilience and excellence that they have.  

Black history month has given many people the power to tolerate different people, as we are all different, but still unique and equal! 

Black history month has made me realise the number of black influences is increasing day by day. It makes me feel proud of this world, we should all be proud of this world! 

- Aaliyah, Year 9

 

Being black is deeper than skin 

Deeper than my hair  

Deeper than my actions 

Being black is being more than just being black 

My melanin is worth more than gold 

My culture, my food, my heritage holds a value that no one can take from me 

I am who I am, and I will never become your stereotype 

It took me a long time to learn this but 

I am black, beautiful and pure. 

I love being black it's fun  

 I wouldn't change that for anybody.  

For me black history Month is an opportunity to celebrate black excellence and achievement. 

- Kieanna, Year 11

 

Since I was a little girl, my parents taught me my culture and they always made sure I embraced it. 

Nowadays, there’s no moment that makes me feel ashamed of my background. 

I am a precious young black woman in a society that is Intimidated by my worth, this makes me feel empowered and strong as I know that my diversity is what makes me special.  

I want to encourage every single young black person in learning how to embrace their race and explore their culture. 

I guarantee that as you’re getting to explore your culture you will get to know yourself. 

- Grace, Year 11 

 

I’M BLACK AND I’M PROUD. 

Black History Month is an annual observance in which we celebrate great black people. But it is more than that. It is about all those who suffered to get where they are now, and I am proud to say that I am black. 

I was born in a society where people with black ethnicity were undermined due to their skin colour and I experienced this in sports. In my football career as a child. I suffered from racial attacks which motivated me to become who I am today.

My message is no matter where you are from or no matter what your skin colour is, BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE, and do not let society diminish your ability to become the best version of yourself.  

- David, Year 11

 

“I’m black and I’m proud”. How many times have we heard this sentence? How many times have we said this sentence? In addition, how many times have we meant this sentence? 

My mother used to take me to the mirror, made me repeat these words, and always told me “never allow the world to make you feel any less”

Unfortunately, we were born into a society and a world where systems have been built to favour a group over another and over another. What this means is that many black children grow up wishing they were from a different race group, because they think that in order to make it in life you NEED to be from a white race. Parents are left to remind children of who they are and where they stand. 

In the course of 16 years of life, I have understood the meaning and the power behind that sentence and how it can transform you once you understand it. 

What I do believe is that we should never be ashamed to stand and say, “I’m black and I’m proud”. This is because BLACK is resilience, BLACK is blessed and highly favoured, BLACK is so much more, BLACK is nothing less, BLACK is educated, BLACK is not something you get to choose but is something you get to cherish. BLACK is strong. 

Finally, I feel no shame in saying that I am black and proud, and yes, no one, not even this world should let you feel less.  

- Blessing, Year 11

 

Why I Am Proud To Be Black 

I am proud to be black.

I am proud to be black because of my history. Our history of power, resistance and perseverance.

I am proud to be black because of our different cultures, languages and diversity.

I am proud to be black because after all that has been happening throughout the course of history, be it ancient or modern, we stand tall and powerful against those who attempt to put us down for who we are.

We are the same inside. The colour of your skin does not affect what you are capable of, or your intelligence, or your ability to function as a human being, it simply changes your appearance. 

- Bruno, Year 11

 

 

Staff Quotes 

Black History month to me means not only acknowledging the racism and oppression my African ancestors lived through and what current generations are still facing today, but also celebrating the great achievements and accomplishments that black people have contributed to the world despite the numerous barriers that they have had to overcome due to their race and the sacrifices they have had to make in pursuit of those accomplishments. 

I was born in Hull, not a very multicultural town especially when I was younger. I remember being racially abused as a young child and not feeling like I fit in with everyone else around or the place I was. I can’t even remember seeing anyone who looked like me until I moved to Leeds just before my 9th birthday. When I came here, I felt not only more accepted like I fit in but also for the first time that I didn’t stand out. Everyone was different and that was probably the first time in my life where I felt that being different is a good thing and something that should be celebrated.  

Black History means being proud of your colour, culture and history.  

We are all the same inside, your skin colour doesn’t dictate your character. 

BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE

- Mr Brown

 

Coming from a very diverse family and growing up in a segregated Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in the 70s’/80s' was challenging mentally. Learning about slavery in history lessons was just another subject to pass my exams and go out in the world and get a life. I was too young and naive and  to comprehend the inhumane treatment and emotions endured during this process.

After a few years in my first job, I saved some money and planned a holiday across the border to South Africa. I drove from Salisbury (Harare) to Port Elizabeth about 2000km and enjoyed every city, province, and villages of both countries. It was when I crossed the border to South Africa that I experienced Apartheid. Even at the point when I was experiencing this I could not believe, understand, or comprehend what was happening. My elder sister, who was travelling with me, was my saviour.  

So, black history month I feel should be celebrated every year for the consciousness of humanity, as for me the moment came years later after my South Africa trip. I realised the treatment I had was not because of who I am or what I look like? It is ignorance at its core. For all the civil rights activists’, it is with gratitude we can be here to express our ourselves especially as a Zimbabwean living in England.

I feel black history month is about raising awareness and educating all, that we are one. This month lays and maintains the platform for a conversation and to educate. It is ok to talk about the past. 

The black reflection on my skin is not going to change and I am not going to get tired of being black. As a citizen of the world born in Zimbabwe living in England. I am proud to be a Black individual. 

- Mr Landsberg

 

As a history teacher, I am very aware of my privilege in getting to teach and discuss so many different aspects of the past with my students. As a white teacher, who grew up in a very white area, I am very aware that often the history I teach isn’t my story (or that of my ancestors). However, it is so important to me that I share an honest, representative and real history of the past; using the narratives and voices of those who lived it. 

My classes regularly make the link between our society today and the knowledge we have of the past. This has been more evident than ever in recent months with the huge amount of attention drawn towards the Black Lives Matter campaign. I feel such pride when students raise points linking the past with the present and they continuously amaze me with the respect and maturity they bring to such important, and often difficult, topics. 

That being said, my history education was very white and European I am very aware that I still have much to learn about Black History. My commitment over the past few years has been to improve my knowledge of this area. This was helped by the phenomenal, misconception busting, books: Black Tudors by Miranda Kauffman and Black and British by David Olusoga. I continue to learn every day and I feel very privileged to have this challenged and shaped by our wonderful school community.   

- Miss Woods

 

The celebration and acknowledgment of EVERYONE. The culture, music, food, and positive contribution that black people added to the world.  

My mum always told me that as a black man, to be equal, I needed to work twice as hard, be twice as nice and avoid the stereotype created by society.   

I grew up in Little London an area known for its high crime rate, low employment, in a single parent household on free school meals and black; this is what we now call disadvantaged.   

Despite all of that I had the best years of my life and a childhood full of wonderful, sometimes life-changing memories. 

To change this perception of disadvantage and not to become a product of my environment, black history helped me discover role models who were a positive reflection of what I wanted to achieve and who I wanted to be.   

Black History empowered me with the values to; 

  • Dream like Martin Luther King. 
  • Stand for something like Malcolm X.  
  • Make changes and strive to the top like Barrack Obama. 
  • Stop giving in and make a stand for what is right like Rosa Parks. 
  • To change perception through positivity, dedication, self-discipline and effort like Jesse Owens. 
  • Be influential in equality and education and measure success by obstacles faced like Booker T Washington.  
  • To be gracious in defeat and understand “success is not by accident but by hard work and perseverance” like Pele. 
  • Be confident and “courageous to take risks to accomplish in life”, like Muhammed Ali. 
  • To have “one love, one heart and love the life you live” like Bob Marley. 
  • Treat everyone with respect and equality and to know where you are going you need to remember where you came from” like Barbara Niles (my mum). 
  • To have “one love, one heart and love the life you live” like Bob Marley.  •Treat everyone with respect and equality and to know where you are going you need to remember where you came from” like Barbara Niles (my mum).   

Black history is for one month; I am black and proud every month.  

- Mr Niles

 

Black History to me means acknowledging the sacrifices, hard work and contributions black people have made in the world, society’s and in  communities. Also about telling truth and being honest about history and not just black history. Acknowledging that black peoples history didn’t start with slavery but come from rich wealthy advanced civilisations and have invented many things that we use and take advantage of today, some of these inventions and ideas have been stolen and not been given credit for through racism. 

Acknowledging the wrongs that have been done to black people in black history, but not pointing the finger of guilt or blame on innocent people today. All black people have only ever wanted is to be treated equal and not to be revengeful. Teaching real history and not his story through a colonialist point of view. This may feel uncomfortable to some but is the reason why it’s not discussed, this is the problem, we need to talk about it.

Accepting the fact that the USA and the UK are wealthy because of the slave trade, cotton and sugar. Teaching and acknowledging the real truth about black history and our contributions  will break down stereotypes like blacks are lazy, have a chip on their shoulder, are criminals, are to be suspicious of and are be feared. This is what I feel should be a focus in black history so that we can learn from it, share from it, break down prejudice, stereotypes and racism so we can all live together without looking at each other sideways.   

- Mr Whyles

 

Being a black child in the early 60s was different to what it is today. We were told that we were sons of slaves and that we had no history. They did not teach it in schools.

When I went on the bus by myself for the first time, I was told “Don’t touch me, you BB. Everyone looked at me as if I had done something wrong. All I wanted to do was to sit down. I never went by myself again.

I felt safe in Chapeltown. We had white neighbours on one side, Indians on the other and Polish across the road. We were not singled out for the colour of our skin, but for the feeling in our heart. 

In 1762, Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote “The Social Contract” which said that No Man is born a slave, But still we forget.

In 1963, Martin Luther King wrote “I had a Dream, but still we forget.

No Man is born a racist, but still we forget. 

Today we have Black History Month to educate the world. Every Nation has produced great people that have made a difference to this world.

Black History month reminds me that I have History and that my life does matter.

- Mr Wilkes

 

Black History month means learning about and celebrating diversity.

I was born in Leeds, UK but at the age of 2 I travelled with my family to live in Nairobi, Kenya where I completed my primary school education.  At the age of 11, I then moved to Harare, Zimbabwe where I completed my secondary school education.   I returned to Leeds 12 years ago, but I still consider Africa the home where I grew up, continue to love and where my roots are firmly planted in the rich soils. 

Despite my schooling in Africa I predominantly studied European History but there is so much that each and every one of us can learn about African History and the people that exist on the beautiful African continent.  There are hardships a plenty and the things that we take for granted in everyday lives, some can only dream of; electricity in our homes, fresh running water that we can drink and even an education. 

Stop & Think about life without these basic necessities!  These African people are resilient, and they are my family.  Everyone needs to show care and respect and embrace our wonderful multi-cultural society in Leeds ……… You do not know the journey that people have endured to arrive safely in this City.  12 years ago I had to escape these hardships and was fortunate to secure a seat on a flight into London but only had the contents of 2 suitcases to my name.  Others are less fortunate!

- Mrs Ward

 

Black History means acknowledging the oppression and racism my West Indian ancestors faced, my Jamaican born father faced and the challenges still facing my generation today.  It is about celebrating the accomplishments of black people despite the barriers others may put in their way due to their colour. 

There have been occasions during my life were I have verbally abused due to my colour.  If you have ever experienced this, you will know how scary and upsetting this is, no matter what age you are.  

Black history means being proud of my roots, colour and culture and embracing opportunities to share this with others. 

We are all different shades. 

This is what makes us beautiful and unique. 

- Mrs Gunson

 

I was born in Stockport, Greater Manchester and grew up in a small, former pit village in Cheshire. It was not an ethnically diverse place and I distinctly remember not liking ‘Boney M’ very much as a young child because I was frequently ' Brown Girl In The Ring' during primary school break and lunch times.


Working as a Teacher at Leeds City Academy, an amazingly diverse inner-city high school, has been a very therapeutic experience. I'm lucky to work with young people and families from all over the world and we’re an incredibly cohesive community where differences and cultural diversity are celebrated every day, not just once a year.


My Grandfather, a Ghanaian who served in the British Merchant Navy was killed in 1940 whilst transporting supplies from Canada to Britain during WW2. Given recent events, Black History Month and the opportunity to reflect on the immense contributions that people of African Caribbean descent have made in the U.K. for hundreds of years, is now more important than ever.

- Mrs Byfield

 

Black History Month is for all people but especially for people like ME. 

I grew up in a white town; there were no people I knew who weren't white like me. 

We had white history lessons and white geography lessons. I learned nothing about the real Britain. 

When I decided to be a teacher, I went to live in a city to study where 70+% of the people were not white. 

I learned about 'multicultural Britain' and all the peoples who made the UK what it is. I found out about how Britain is made up of immigrants; and my family was one of those immigrant families! 

Black history month should be a time when we learn about all the people who have made our nation great. Our people come from all nations; from all cultures; from all backgrounds, with lots of different languages. There's lots to learn! 

I'm proud to work with people from all around the word. I'm proud to learn more about what many different peoples have contributed to British history - not just the kings and queens and politicians I was taught about at school. I celebrate REAL history and the ever-changing UK. 

I'm still learning. 

I celebrate Black History Month because Britain is made better by many peoples. Not just the ones I learnt about at school.  

I need to learn more because that's real history.

- Mrs Mitchell

 

To me, Black History Month is a time to celebrate and reflect upon the huge contributions that people of different races, cultures and ethnicities have had upon our day to day lives here in Britain.

As a white woman, I believe it is important for me to recognise my privilege and understand that this privilege has not been experienced by all, I hope to use my voice in whatever way I can to address inequality if I see it, hear it or feel it.

As a citizenship teacher, I hope to teach young people about their rights and responsibilities, about how to be an active citizens and the change makers that our country needs to keep progressing and moving forward. I hope to teach them that they all have worth, that all their voices matter and that they should all be heard.

I feel so lucky to work at such a vibrant, multicultural school. I have learnt so much from my students and in that respect they have become my teachers also.

- Mrs Allchin

Black History Month means achievements and acknowledgement of African and Caribbean people who have contributed to the social, political, economic and cultural development in the U.K​.

I am who I am, a black woman born and bred in Britain. â€‹

Please do not judge me by the colour of my skin but judge me on the contents of my character. â€‹

I look at the world through a black woman’s eyes, everything and everyone is beautiful. I have no hate in my eyes, only sorrow for some injustices we must bear because of our skin colour. â€‹

The black skin is not a badge of shame but rather a glorious symbol of a nation’s greatness.​

I am a Proud Black Woman and I stand Strong and Tall.​

I have a dream. 

- Mrs Howarth