Black History Month 2020

October is Black History Month, and while the current restrictions mean we aren’t able to run our usual programme of in-person events, we will still have a full Black History Month programme online.

We initially planned a series of events this year as part of our ‘21 Years of Activism’ programme of events marking the 21st anniversary since the official opening of the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre – these had to be cancelled or postponed, and will now be hosted online as part of the 1945 PAC 75th Citywide commemoration and Black History Month 2020 events.  

The theme of ‘activism’ describes both the work that the Centre does and the material it archives, and will therefore be the driving force of every event we produce this year as part of the programme.

Some of our Black History Month activities are listed below – look out for further details on our social media (Facebook and Twitter) and here on our website.

15 October 5.15- 5.45 pm Professor Hakim Adi: The Manchester Pan-African Congress – Lessons for today. 

Part of the Manchester Metropolitan University led Citywide Sixth form conference The 75th Anniversary of the 5th Pan African Conference in Manchester, UK

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the famous Pan-African Congress held in Manchester in 1945. Although the congress focused largely on the anti-colonial struggle and particularly on the liberation of Africa, it is sometimes forgotten that its opening session focused on the ‘Colour Problem in Britain.’ This should be an important reminder that racism is not a new phenomenon and is a consequence of Britain’s history of slavery and colonial exploitation. Hakim Adi’s presentation will revisit the Manchester Congress to consider its continuing relevance in the 21st century. Livestreamed on

30 October 2.00 -3.30 pm Professor Lou Kushnick: Black Activism, Past. Present and Future
Racism and the Exclusion of People of Colour from the American Dream: a talk by Professor Lou Kushnick
A response from Northern Police Monitoring Group, based on their campaign work on UK police brutality

Lou Kushnick OBE, emeritus professor at the University of Manchester and co-founder of the AIU Education Trust, will revisit and update his very popular 2015 Star Lecture, to include an exploration of the similarities between UK Black Lives Matter and the global response to George Floyd’s murder.
This will be followed by a response from the Northern Police Monitoring Project, and a question and answer session.

Tickets from Eventbrite.

Blog posts
Look out for this series of posts here on the blog, on the theme of the 1945 Pan-African Congress and its legacy in Manchester –  they will be posted weekly during October..

Holly Randhawa: The 1945 Pan-African Congress: Manchester and the Fight for Equality 

Jack Bowman: Researching Ras T. Makonnen and Pan-Africanism in Manchester at the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre

Natalie Ward: Meaningful Connections: how strong communities make stronger movements 

Marika Sherwood:  Why was the 1945 Pan-African Congress held in Manchester?

17 October  1.30 – 2.45 pm Digitising Pan-African Archives with The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Archive  
Drew Ellery invites participants on a digital tour of the 1945 Pan African Congress Archive held at Manchester Central Library; reflecting on both old and new methods of preserving and interpreting archives. He will also lead a tutorial on how to digitise your photographs and documents, as well as reflecting on issues around consent and copyright.  
Booking on Eventbrite

We will be working with schools in a number of ways:
We have commissioned Linford Sweeney, Community Historian, Black History Educator, Caribbean Genealogist, and Author, to deliver a course for pupils from 2 Manchester schools on: “Black History is World History”

Catherine, our Widening Participation Officer, will be supporting Black History Trail ambassadors to deliver workshops in a wide range of subject areas to secondary schools, and producing materials from this for wider use in education.

Black History is not just for October 
Excitingly, we will be launching the residency of our first ever poet-in-residence, Shirley May. Shirley is a well-known and loved poet on the Manchester scene and a founder of Young Identity, which has encouraged the creative talents of Manchester young people for over 14 years. She will be with us for 6 months, using our collections to respond to ‘Ever forwards, Backwards never’. She will be leading three workshops with schools and 6th form colleges over the period of her residency, using our collections as the starting point for poetry and performance.
We look forward to seeing our collections through new eyes, and to sharing those insights on our website and social media.