A Black History Week was initiated by the black historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926; it took place in February to encompass the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. In the early years the event was mainly marked by academics, but during the 1940s and 1950s Paul Robeson and black communists, such as Ben Davis and William Patterson, encouraged others to make everyone in the United States aware of the contribution made by black people to their country’s development. It became widely popular and was extended to cover the whole of February.
Many activists in Britain called for a similar event and after many years of campaigning Black History Month began in 1987 as part of the African Jubilee Year. It has now grown from a small London-based event to one that is celebrated nationwide. Councils, libraries, schools, churches, and many other organisations all celebrate Black History Month with a vast range of cultural activities.
The TUC has marked the event since 2001 and Chelmsford TUC since 2003. For our contribution to the festivities we have celebrated Black History Month with an exhibition in the local library highlighting the achievements of black and ethnic people and condemning racism. From 2007 to 2015 we either had a stall in the High Street during Black History Month or an exhibition in the public area outside Chelmsford Library to express our opposition to racism. We continue to express our opposition to racism at every opportunity.