BBC salutes Black Women during Black History Month

Black History Month in The United Kingdom

In the US some black joke that our Black History month is in February because it is the shortest month of the year. In Britain, Black History Month is celebrated in October which has 31 days.

And while the British Broadcasting Corporation affectionately known as the BBC didn’t shine a light on 31 fabulous Black Women this month they did highlight 12. And they wrote it for a young audience. In a time when many adult Brits deny the existence of racism in the UK, this history lesson is huge in my opinion. Here the chosen 12.

BBC Black History Month
Photo credit: Various

Source: BBC

Black History Month has been marked in the UK for more than 30 years. It takes place during the month of October.

It is held to highlight and celebrate the achievements and contributions of the black community in the UK.

Throughout history, black people have made huge contributions to society in the fields of art, music, science, literature and many more areas.

But in the past, these contributions have often been ignored or played down because black people weren’t treated the same way as other people because of the colour of their skin.

BBC Black History Month
GETTY IMAGES This picture from the 1960s shows people protesting for equal rights

Black History Month aims to address this unfairness by celebrating these achievements and contributions.

Read on to find out about the incredible things that 12 women, in particular, have done for Britain.

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Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784)

BBC Black History Month
Image BLACKHISTORYMONTH.ORG.UK

Phillis Wheatley was born in West Africa.

When she was a young girl, she was put on board a ship and sent to the US, where she was sold as a slave to a family called the Wheatleys. She was named after that ship – the Phillis.

While Phillis was a slave, she was taught to read and write, which was unusual at the time.

She wrote her first poem at the age of 14. At the age of 20, she moved to England with her son and within a year, published her first book.

This made her the first African-American poet to be published, with her first volume of poetry in 1773.

The fact that her writing was so brilliant proved that women who were slaves could have amazing intellectual ideas, when people hadn’t thought that they could, and this contributed towards the anti-slavery movement.

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Mary Seacole (1805-1881)

BBC Black History Month
IMAGE National Geographical Society

Mary Seacole was born and grew up in Jamaica, but came over to England in 1854.

She asked the War Office if she could go to help wounded soldiers who were fighting in the Crimean War (1853-1856), but she wasn’t allowed.

So she raised the money herself and travelled to Balaclava, Ukraine. Here, she looked after British soldiers who had been injured.

Despite all that she did, not many people knew who she was or the amazing work that she had done after she died. Most people remember Florence Nightingale, who helped many people too.

However, people have campaigned to make sure that people remember everything that Mary Seacole did.

In 2016, a statue of her was built outside St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Ayshah went to find out more about it ahead of it being built.

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Fanny Eaton (1835-unknown)

BBC Black History Month
Image BRIDGEMAN IMAGES

You can see Fanny Eaton featured in a lot of artwork by Pre-Raphaelite artists (a period of art which started in the mid-1880s).

That’s because she worked as a model for several well-known artists.

She moved to London from Jamaica and worked at the Royal Academy. The Royal Academy is an extremely famous place in London for art – especially painting, sculpture and architecture – which started in 1768.

One of the artists that she modelled for called Dante Gabriel Rossetti praised how beautiful Fanny was. This was significant because, at the time, many people did not see black people as beautiful, so black women were not featured very much in Western art.

But Fanny Eaton challenged this and is an important figure in the history of art.

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Evelyn Dove (1902-1987)

BBC Black History Month
Image BBC

Evelyn was the daughter of a lawyer from Sierra Leone in Africa and his English wife.

She was a student at the Royal Academy of Music, which is a bit like the Royal Academy where Fanny Eaton modelled, but for music.

While she was there, she performed with some of the world’s top black entertainers and went on to become a singing and acting star of the 1920s.

She became famous all over the world, at a time when black female performers would struggle to get the same recognition as white entertainers because of racial prejudices.

 

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Lilian Bader (1918-2015)

BBC Black History Month
Image IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM VIA BLACKHISTORYMONTH.ORG.UK

Lilian Bader was born in 1918 in Liverpool and went on to become one of the very first black women to join the British Armed Forces.

Starting out as a canteen assistant at an army base in Yorkshire, she eventually trained as an instrument repairer, before becoming a leading aircraftwoman and soon afterwards earning herself the rank of Corporal.

Three generations of her family served in the armed forces.

When she left the army to have children of her own, she retrained and got a degree from the University of London to become a teacher.

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Joan Armatrading (1950-today)

BBC Black History Month
Image BBC

Back to music and Joan Armatrading is a name that if you are into blues you may already know.

This is because she was the first ever female UK artist to be nominated for a Grammy in the blues category. She went on to be nominated three times.

She arrived in the UK at the age of seven, from the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts. She started writing songs at the age of 14. She also taught herself to play the guitar.

In the 1970s, she became the first black British singer songwriter to enjoy great success abroad.

Then, in 2007, she became the first female UK artist to debut at number 1 in the Billboards blues chart (which is like the top 40 chart for blues music in America).

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Olive Morris (1952-1979)

BBC Black History Month
IMAGE Nyansapo – The Pan African Drum

Olive Morris was an important figure in terms of civil rights.

Black people didn’t used to have the same rights as other people, simply because of the colour of their skin – and Olive was one of many people who worked tirelessly to change that.

She campaigned for the rights of black people in South London and Manchester and was a founding member of groups like the Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent (OWAAD) and the Brixton Black Women’s Group.

She passed away at the age of just 27, but even by this age she had contributed an enormous amount to black communities across the country.

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Margaret Busby (1944-today)

BBC Black History Month
Image GETTY IMAGES

Margaret is an extremely influential name in the world of publishing.

That’s because she was Britain’s youngest and first black female book publisher, when she co-founded the publishing company Allison & Busby in 1967, alongside a man called Clive Allison.

The company didn’t only publish work by black writers, but it did help to make the names of many black writers more well-known.

Talking about writing today, Margaret says: “Technology permits you to be your own publisher and editor, which should encourage a lot of us – especially young people – to write and express themselves.”

“Write because you really enjoy it and learn to be a good reader because the best writers read voraciously. Get to know the best books out there.”

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Diane Abbott (1953-today)

BBC Black History Month
Image GETTY IMAGES

In 1987, Diane Abbott made history by becoming the first black woman ever to be elected to Parliament.

Her career in politics began in 1982, when she was elected to Westminster City Council, before being voted into the House of Commons five years later.

It made her part of the first group of black and Asian people to sit in Parliament for almost a century – but back then, only men got the jobs.

She also started the London Schools and the Black Child programme, which aims to help black children to do well in school.

She still serves in Parliament to this day as one of the main politicians in the Labour party.

Editor’s note: Dianne Abbott is on our 2010 Power List.

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Malorie Blackman (1962-today)

BBC Black History Month
Image GETTY IMAGES

Another author that you may well have heard of is the best-selling author of the Noughts & Crosses series – Malorie Blackman.

When she was chosen to become the eighth Children’s Laureate, she became the first black person to take on the role.

She got the job in 2013, before passing on the baton to British illustrator and writer Chris Riddell in 2015.

Malorie says she wanted to “make reading irresistible” for children, by encouraging them to explore a range of literature, from short stories to graphic novels.

Editor’s note: Malorie Blackman in on our 2011 Power List.

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Dr. Shirley Thompson

BBC Black History Month
Image WINSTON SILL

Only recently, Dr. Shirley Thomson was named as “one of the most inspirational Black British women” by the newspaper Metro.

In 2004, she became the first woman in Europe to conduct and compose a symphony within the last 40 years. It was called New Nation Rising, A 21st Century Symphony.

The piece of music celebrated London’s history and was composed to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.

She has also written pieces to be used in films, on television, by dancers and on stage.

Because of her work, she was named on the Evening Standard’s Power List of Britain’s Top 100 Most Influential Black People in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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Zadie Smith (1975-today)

BBC Black History Month
Image GETTY IMAGES

If you go into a book shop, you would be very likely to spot one of Zadie Smith’s books on the shelves.

She is an extremely successful author, having published her first book at the age of just 24.

Her books, which are inspired by her experience of issues around race and what society is like, have received many prizes.

She has also written essays and short stories, and now teaches at New York University.

Editor’s note: Zadie Smith is on our 2010 Power List.

Bringing the protest to London

We support our brothers in the NFL.

protest

Jacksonville Jaguars NFL players kneeling in protest as the US national anthem was played at Wembley stadium in London at the start of their match against the Baltimore Ravens yesterday. Each season, four NFL matches are held in London in front of 80,000 fans, many of whom travel from the US for the event. The display of defiance from members of both teams came after President Donald Trump encouraged American football fans to boycott matches over such protests, which were started by player Colin Kaepernick last year when he kneeled during the national anthem to highlight the treatment of black citizens in the US. (Source: ABC News)

Teaching Our Own The Black Homeschooling Fair

Teaching Our Own The Black Homeschooling Fair

homeschooling

We’re back for the 3rd annual Teaching Our Own Black Homeschooling Fair on Saturday 7th October from 12-6pm at The Unity Centre, 1-3 Church Road, London, NW10 9EG.

homeschooling

With talks, workshops, children’s activities, good food, a market zone of black owned businesses and more, all to help parents of African heritage children, take back control of their children’s lives and education, either by homeschooling full time or around their schooling.

Get your tickets today.

Donna Kinnair, Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice, Royal College of Nirsing

Donna Kinnair, Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice

Dame Donna Kinnair
Dame Professor Donna Kinnair, joined the RCN as head of Nursing in 2015, providing leadership to the Nursing departments. Donna was then promoted and joined the RCN Executive Team to Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice in 2016, where her key role is to work with UK-wide RCN staff to drive and implement the future RCN professional nursing, policy and practice strategy.

Prior to joining the RCN Donna held various roles, including Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust; Executive Director of Nursing, Southeast London Cluster Board; Director of Commissioning, London Borough of Southwark & Southwark PCT. She was the Strategic Commissioner for Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham Health Authority’s Children’s Services.

Donna advised the PM’s Commission on the future of Nursing and Midwifery in 2010 and served as nurse/child health assessor to the Victoria Climbié Inquiry.

She was quoted in a BBC article last year, NHS staffing levels lagging behind workload.

Dame Donna Kinnair, of the Royal College of Nursing, said the “meagre” increase in vital nursing staff was hard to understand and argued that it reflected recruitment failures in earlier years.

“The government must commit to train and retain more nurses to ensure patients receive the care they deserve.”

Stacy Johnson – Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

University of Nottingham

Stacy Johnson
Photo from the 11th Congress of the World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine (WFSICCM)

Biography

Stacy Johnson is an Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham in the School of Health Sciences. After training as a nurse and completing a BSc in Health Studies at the University of Manchester, she read for a Masters degree in Economic and Quantitative Methods in Healthcare at City, University of London.

In addition to being Associate Professor in the School of Health Sciences, Stacy is the Deputy Warden of Hugh Stewart Hall.

Expertise Summary

Stacy is in demand as an advisor and speaker on healthcare and Higher Education equality, diversity and inclusion. Since 2012, Stacy has been advising England’s Chief Nurse on matters affecting black and minority ethnic (BME) patients and staff as a member of the Chief Nursing Officer’s BME Advisory Group. She also lectures and researchers in the areas of healthcare leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Stacy has developed an exemplary reputation for capacity and capability building in the international Higher Education sector. She leads the School of Health Sciences’ strategy on and is a visiting lecturer at the Henan University of Science and Technology in China. She has been involved in advising on curriculum reform, faculty development and leadership development in nurse education in the UK, South Africa, China, the Middle East, India and the Caribbean. She has been an external examiner at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad, Witswatersrand University, South Africa, London Southbank University, England and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Teaching Summary

Module Convenor

Evaluating Interventions, Services and Policy in Health and Social Care (DTC Advanced Training Module)
Innovation, Leadership and Communication (2nd year BSc.)
Module Contributor

Leadership, Innovation and Communication, 4th year MNursSci
Leadership in Health and Social Care

Additional Teaching

Healthcare Entrepreneurship
Healthcare Innovation
Leadership
Health Economics and Health Policy Analysis
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Dissertation Supervision

BSc, MNursSci, MAN, MARM, MSc QPSI, MSc ACP

University Responsibilities

  • Deputy Warden, Hugh Stewart Hall, University of Nottingham
  • Chair: Univerity of Nottingham, Race Equality Steering Group

External responsibilities

  • Henan Institue of Science and Technology, People’s Republic of China
  • External Examiner: University of Edinburgh
  • External Examiner: Witswatersrand Univerity, Johannesburg, South Africa

Recent Publications

NAIRN,S., O’BRIEN E., TRAYNOR,V., WILLIAMS,G., CHAPPLE,M. and JOHNSON,S., 2006. Student nurses’ knowledge, skills and attitudes towards the use of portfolios in a school of nursing Journal of Clinical Nursing. 15(12), 1509-1520