Sixth Formers celebrate Black history with open-mic event

18 October 2019

On Tuesday 15 October, City and Islington College students organised a celebration of black history at the Sixth Form Centre in Angel.

Sixth Formers on the Goswell Road organised the event as part of Black History Month, an annual observation of the contributions to society made by people of Afro-Caribbean ethnicity.

Event organiser and A Level student Harry O’Connell told us:

“The idea for the Black History Month event was predominantly student-led. The students had their own ideas on how to celebrate and commemorate this month, which all came together under one space with the help of [Youth Worker] Yasmin Whittaker Khan, who gave students a space to allow their ideas to come to life.

“We wanted to achieve a fun yet informative event where people from all ethnicities can come together to learn about and celebrate black history and the huge impact it still has in today's society.”

The event picked up on different elements of Afro-Caribbean tradition, including a variety of homemade food from around the world, an open mic session and a quiz. From 3pm, students were invited to take to the stage and share songs and poems to a large audience.

Efforts to raise awareness of black history are made each year by all five City and Islington College centres. This year our libraries put on displays of related literature and our Centre for Lifelong Learning invited students to write short articles for their Wall of Fame on the Blackstock Road.

Black History Month originated in the United States and was originally conceived by American historian Carter G. Woodson, who wrote: “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition” and urged schools and the press to distribute literature on black history. Black History Month aims to acknowledge the role of the African diaspora in Western society and is recognised today by other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. It was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in 1987.

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