Every October, we celebrate Black History Month in London and across the UK.
There are some fantastic family friendly activities in London for Black History Month, and many of these events cross over into 2014 and beyond. For, as we know, Black history could never be contained in just one month!
1. The Black Art of Making Mas, Islington Arts Factory, 2 Parkhurst Rd, N7 (Holloway tube)
If you and your little ones love the fabulous masks and costumes at the annual Notting Hill Carnival, then you should head to Islington Arts Factory to check out this exhibition that takes you on a tour of carnival costume history. From the traditional and often subversive themes and characters to the fusion of African, Caribbean and Latin influences, this show will thrill and educate. All ages. 10am-11pm (Mon-Wed), 10am-10pm (Thu), 10am-7pm (Fri), 10am-5.30pm (Sat), 11am-5.30pm (Sun); FREE (until Oct 11)
2. Trish Cooke at Southwark Libraries, at Camberwell Library, 17-25 Camberwell Church St, SE5 (Oval tube) and Peckham Library, 122 Peckham Hill St, SE15 (Peckham Rye tube)
The bestselling author of the children’s book So Much is appearing at two Southwark libraries as part of their extensive Black History Month programme (see link to Southwark site further down). Trish will read from her new book Look Back! and sign copies. For ages 3-10. 11am-12pm (Camberwell) and 2.30-3.30pm (Peckham), FREE (Oct 12)
3. Black Veterans of the Second World War at Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Rd, SE1 (Lambeth North/Waterloo tube)
The museum has several family events on including this talk by historian Tony Warner looking at the contribution of African and Caribbean veterans during WW2. Learn about Black and Asian female secret agents, the Nigerian and Somali troops who fought in Burma and why U-boats were found in the Caribbean. All ages. 2-4pm, FREE (Oct 13)
4. Mwalimu Express at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Rd, E2 (Shoreditch High St overground)
One of our favourite family events in London, the Mwalimu Express takes you on a Pan-African tour with craft activities for kids, traditional Oware and other board games, parent and toddler dance sessions, music, crafts and fashion stalls. Every month there’s a live African performer getting the crowd moving, and an African film to round things off. All ages. 2-6pm, FREE (Oct 20)
5. Dads and Daughters Celebration Ball at Assembly Room, Lambeth Town Hall, Acre Lane, SW2 (Brixton tube)
Put on your glad rags and dancing shoes and step out with your little girl for an event to remember. The Dads and Daughters ball celebrates the unique relationship between papa and his princess. There will be drumming performances, chocolate fountain, African history tales, buffet banquet, themed portraits and goodie bags. 2-6pm, FREE (Oct 26)
6. The African Market at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Rd, E2 (Shoreditch High St overground)
An eclectic and inviting mix of stalls showcasing wares from all over the Continent and the Diaspora. Be welcomed by the sounds of One Drum, the open drumming circle, and explore fashion, crafts, arts, workshops, delicious food, face painting and live music. Stick around later (after 7pm) and you’ll catch the album launch and live performance by Abdoulaye Samb & Minn Jiaraby. 12-7pm, FREE (Oct 27)
7. Influential Black Londoners Trail and Exhibition at Sutton House, 2 and 4 Homerton High St, E9 (Hackney Central overground)
Head to Sutton House to see an exhibition of letters from admiring fans of influential Black Londoners through the ages. Watch the exhibition grow week by week as schoolkids create art inspired by these figures. Go on a trail and collect stickers of each of these historic figures, among other family activities. 10.30am-5pm (Mon-Fri) and 12-5pm (Sat-Sun); adult £3.50/child £1/family £6.90 (until Nov 3)
8. Daddy I want to be a Black Artist (pictured top) at Peckham Space, 89 Peckham High St, SE15 (Peckham Rye overground)
Fascinating new exhibition exploring the myths and multiple meanings behind Blackness, Britishness and identity. Themes arise from artist Kimathi Donkor’s interactions with local teenagers who discovered and were inspired by works of Black British artists at Tate Britain over summer. Stroller-friendly. 11am-6pm (Wed-Fri), 11am-5pm (Sat-Sun), FREE (until Nov 24)
9. Sankofa: Why Britain Celebrates Black History Month at Hackney Museum, Ground Floor, Technology and Learning Centre, 1 Reading Lane, E8 (Hackney Central overground)
A vast exhibition celebrating 75 years of African Caribbean culture in Britain, with rarely seen archival materials, photos from activist and grassroots movements, as well as changes in style, fashion, music and technology. From Sugar Minott to Ms Dynamite, from Hip Hop to Dubstep, from Afros to Locs, from Super Nintendo to iPhone. 9.30am-5pm (Tue, Wed, Fri), 9.30am-8pm (Thu), 10am-5pm (Sat), FREE (until Jan 4)
10. Afro Supa Hero at V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 (Bethnal Green tube)
A retrospective of the artist Jon Daniel’s personal collection of action figures and comic books, representing his own experience of growing up as an African Caribbean in ‘60s and ‘70s Britain. Meteor Man, Mr T and Lieutenant Uhura are on display along with iconic photos of Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King and comics like The Falcon and Black Lighting. Exhibition running through Black History Month in October and beyond. 10am-5.45pm daily, FREE (until Feb 9)
Black History Walks offers guided walking tours of London, exploring the often hidden and surprising African presence and influence before the Windrush generation. Walks take place in St Pauls/Bank, Docklands, Soho, Trafalgar Square, Elephant & Castle and Notting Hill area from January to November and last 2-2.5 hours.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH LOCAL BOROUGH GUIDES