Monday, February 16, 2009

Black History Month in Europe?

Why do black communities in Europe celebrate Black History Month? For one, it's an African-American thing. And two, European black communities are to divers to call them 'a black community'. Black history is often the history of the country of origin. There is no shared black history, yet.

Not everyone is happy with the Black History Month. In a forum discussion about, ‘do real Africans celebrate black history month’, the answers ranged from “I am not black but African” to “we are all black” . And actor Morgan Freeman feels BHM should be cancelled at once. In an in interview he called it 'ridiculous'.

But Black History Month in Europe is celebrated because it's necessary. An overview.


In the UK black History Month is celebrated in October. In 2008 the current issues where HIV and positive role models. The Britons also opened (in 2008) with a magnificent publication, ‘The Official Guide to Black History Month’. A publication which highlights black history in the UK. BHM is celebrated in many cities.


In Germany BHM is celebrated in February. It’s organised in several cities. One of the cities is Hamburg, where was initiated twelve years ago by an African-American. In Hamburg BHM is more a black cultural event, with topics ranging from Zimbabwe to Afro-German diversity.

The German government has also launched a BHM program.


Although it has been organised occasionally, the Netherlands has no BHM tradition. In 2008 the association of students of African heritage organised the black history month for the first time. For 2009 the theme is ‘ Pride’. For the two meeting there is ancient black history from Egypt and Ethiopia, and The role of Black Intellectuals in the New World Order.


Black communities in France don't celebrate Black History Month, ‘Mois de l’Histoire Noire’, yet.


  1. There is no shared history? are you kidding? the descendants of many slaves are now living in Europe. Black history is not about country of origin but of black diasporic experience. And who cares what Morgan Freeman thinks? This is a man who is openly having a sexual relationship with his granddaughter!

  2. I agree with anonymous. We might change "black diasporic experience"
    to "African diasporic experience" for clarity but the point is, that we all were affected by slavery and colonialism in such a way as to disrupt our historical knowledge of self. Now we must find a way to restore that knowledge. Until we do we will continue to be exploited and as people from a continent whose people and resources, have been exploited and abused for far too long we "badly need" these history lessons.

    A proper history lesson will show that we are and have been exploited because of our strength, our knowlegde, our intelligence, our adaptability and our natural resources. We may rest assured that had we not been out-gunned we wouldn't be in the situation we are in now.

  3. Morgan Freeman is right. BHM is divisive. At the same time, we're taught to worship our slave owning founding fathers. Why not have history books that criticize them for having slaves? And history books that emphasize black achievements from the beginning?

    If we can incorporate this, there should be no such thing as Black History Month.


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