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Black History Month 2020

Published: 25 September 2020

WomanWoman standing in front of a red and yellow background

Celebrating black history

October marks Black History Month, an annual celebration of the history, achievements and contributions of black people in the UK. It's also all about sharing positive black contributions to society and most importantly about black cultural heritage. This year is about building on the important strides made by the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Surrey Heritage Centre has supported Black History Month for nearly twenty years, acknowledging the need to preserve the history of black lives in the county and raise awareness. However, the huge impact of the Black Lives Matters movement this year, reinforces the importance not only to celebrate the lives and achievements of Surrey's Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community but to reveal and acknowledge their experiences in the past.

How is Surrey County Council celebrating?

To coincide with Black History Month, Surrey County Council is internally launching The Minority Ethnic Group and Allies (MEGA) Network to support Surrey's commitment to becoming a more inclusive organisation. It will create a safe space for minority voices to be heard about how the Council can address the challenges that BAME colleagues may face.

There will also be a range of events planned this month for staff to celebrate the important role that black culture plays in modern life. Some of which include, a gospel choir performance, an Afrasian live cooking experience and a quiz on black history and popular culture. All of the events tie together to show respect to our black community inside and outside of the organisation.

Surrey's Black History Month events

1. Marvel of the month; Surrey's road to abolition – By the late eighteenth century there was growing opposition to the injustice and barbarism of the slave trade from within Britain. The history centre takes a look at the Abolitionist movement in Surrey, which includes Dr Stephen Lushington, Surrey Quaker Meetings and Guildford Anti-Slavery Committee.

2. Black History Month podcast; Lucean Arthur Headen – A fantastic recorded Question and Answer (Q&A) session with Dr Jill D Snider about the extraordinary life of Lucean Arthur Headen, an early Black American aviator, who lived in Frimley and became a leading industrialist in 1930s Camberley. If you have any questions about what life was like in Camberley or have family member's who lived during the 1930's – 1950's in Camberley, you can contact Dr Jill Snider at

3. Tracing Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) family history – Follow the Seeking Surrey Ancestors blog which reveals unexpected local black history links in Dorking, and explores how we might feel having slave owning ancestors

Discover more about Black history in Surrey

Here are some places where you can discover more about black history in Surrey:

From World War One to Windrush, tracing black ancestors can be challenging but more sources are now available online than ever before and there is an exciting new awareness of British black cultural history, see our Black History Month online feature by our Surrey History Centre.

Visit Exploring Surrey's Past to discover some of Surrey's inspirational back history stories and people.

Surrey Life Magazine will highlight some of our amazing local black life stories, including Lucean Arthur Headen, Phillis Weatley and John Springfield. They'll be featured in their October issue. GoSurrey online magazine will also be featuring Black History in Surrey stories from their collections in their October issue for Black History Month.

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