Black History Month Events In London 2023

October is Black History Month in the UK — a chance to learn about Black creatives, heroes, and campaigners from the past, as well as be inspired by the Black figures and industries of today. There’s a whole lot going on in London — we’ve picked some highlights.

A Black History tube map. Image: TfL

Black History Month walks and talks

Black History Walks host a number of walks in October, exploring everything from Windrush to Black presence in Tate Britain (various dates in Oct)
The writing of Caribbean migrants including Samuel Selvon, George Lamming and Linton Kwesi Johnson is explored in the Writing After Windrush lecture at Barnard’s Inn Hall (3 Oct)
Family historian Paul Crooks is at Battersea Library, offering drop-in sessions where you can trace your African Caribbean heritage (5 Oct)
Vanley Burke, ‘Godfather of Black British Photography’ comes to the National Portrait Gallery to discuss his project The Making of Black Britain, with Diane Louise Jordan (6 Oct)
Award-winning historian Professor Kate Dossett explores the women of the Harlem Renaissance in a talk at Barnard’s Inn Hall  (5 Oct)
London’s streets, legendarily ‘paved with gold’, also run with the blood of enslaved people — discover the links between the City and the slave trade on the eye-opening Slave Trade Money Trail Tour (7 and 28 Oct)

Randall Goosby performs music from three Black composers at Southbank Centre. Image: Kaupo Kikkas

Black History Month music, theatre film and comedy

Croydon’s Fairfield Halls screens the 2021 film Respect, about the life and times of the great Aretha Franklin (4 Oct)
Young violinist Randall Goosby teams up with pianist Zhu Wang, to perform music from three Black composers (Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, William Grant Still and Florence Price) at the Southbank Centre (13 Oct)
A slew of great Black comedians — including Richard Blackwood, Slim and Rudi Lickwood — raise the roof at Hackney Empire’s Pioneers of Comedy shebang (21 Oct)
The legendary PP Arnold (of The First Cut is the Deepest fame) performs at Boisdale of Canary Wharf (25 Oct)
Catford’s Broadway Theatre puts on two Windrush 75 shows in one, with a staging of The Front Room: a Windrush Legend — followed by music from the era played live by the The Freedom Band UK (28 Oct)

Black History Month markets and fairs

Get down to Brixton’s Black Farmers’ Market, established ‘to restore the cultural and historical communal atmosphere’ of the area (8 Oct)
There’s three days’ worth of food, crafts, dance and music at inilford Black History Month Food Fair (13-15 Oct)
Goldsmiths in New Cross hosts the Black Book Festival, celebrating writers and publishers from the African Diaspora (21 Oct)

Londonist on Black history

The UK’s first Black train driver, Wilston Samuel Jackson.

Check out our articles on Black history in London:

“I Had Never Seen A Train Before!” Memories Of A Windrusher Arriving In London
A Black History Tube Map
10 Black Women Who Changed London For The Better
Wilston Samuel Jackson: A Plaque For The UK’s First Black Train Driver’s At King’s Cross Station
Who Were The First Black Footballers At Every London League Club?
This Botanical Map Of Brixton Spills Unsavoury Truths About Slavery
10 London Locations Linked To Slavery
London’s Best Walking Tours: Black History Walks
This Map Of Black History In London Charts Slavery To Black Lives Matter
Black London: 10 Sculptures, Murals And Plaques To See
8 Remarkable Vintage Images Of Black Londoners

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