A Guide to Black History Month 2023

October marks Black History Month – a remembrance of the important women, men, and events in the history of the African diaspora.

The theme of this year’s Black History Month is ‘saluting our sisters’ to acknowledge how Black women’s work, culture and existence is often under celebrated, and erased. WeAreTheCity are committed to uplifting and amplifying the voices and contributions of Black women both past and present, not just in October, but throughout the year.

Black History Month was first celebrated in the UK in 1987. It was set up and organised by Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, who then served as a coordinator of projects for the Greater London Council and created a collaboration to get it underway. It was first celebrated in London and has become a national institution ever since. Black History Month gives everyone the chance to share, celebrate and understand the great impact of Black heritage, culture, and achievements. There is the opportunity for both children and adults to gain a broader understanding of Black histories that goes beyond racism and slavery typically taught within the UK curriculum. This is important in acknowledging the huge contribution that Black men and women have made to society.

For far too long, Black history, and Black voices and experiences have been side-lined, overlooked, appropriated, and misrepresented within the UK and beyond.  At WeAreTheCity, we believe in equity for all and will continue to help increase representation and share a variety of voices and opinions – and never has it been more important.

Over the month and beyond, we will be showcasing events, covering news, and continuing to shine a spotlight on issues of race, equality, intersectionality, and inclusion.

Below, you will find resources on how to help gain a better understanding of Black history and culture and how to become a better ally:



There is a great deal of both in-person, and virtual events marking Black History Month. We’ve handpicked a few events below:

02/10/2023 – 07/10/2023: UK Black Business Show

The UK black business show has been created to inspire and connect black business owners and professionals.

Through exhibits, deep-dive workshops, interactive panels, and seminars, delivered by industry pioneers, this event will enable personal, professional and corporate development.

To celebrate UK Black History Month, The UK Black Business Show will be taking place in October. The show will highlight the achievements and contributions Black businesses have made to the economy. Attendees will gain cutting-edge insight and advice in entrepreneurship, leadership, soft skills and cultural development from some of the UK’s leading Black business owners.

08/10/2023: Black Farmers Market UK – Black History Month

In Brixton, we’re celebrating Black History Month with a diverse set of Black growers and Black-owned businesses at Black Farmers Market.

12/10/2023: Da Poetry Jam – Black History Month Special – Terrell The Artist

Join us for an unforgettable evening of spoken word and poetry at our Da Poetry Jam – Black History Month Special event! Celebrating the richness and diversity of Black culture, this in-person event promises to be a captivating experience.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 12, 2023, at 19:00 (GMT+0100). We are thrilled to host this event at the vibrant location of Queen Caroline Street, London, W6 9BW.

21/10/2023: Black History Month Performance – Black Voice Letchworth

Black Voice Letchworth are an organisation that provides services supporting those of Black Caribbean and African heritage. This Black history month Black Voice Letchworth are hosting their ‘Black History Performance’, which allows you to join them in celebration of Black culture through music, dance, and more on Saturday 21st October 2023 from 2pm.

Location: Letchworth Garden City Town Centre, Leys Avenue, Leys Square, Letchworth, Garden City

25/10/2023: Celebrating Black History Month at NatWest | NatWest EMB Support

Under this year’s theme of Celebrating Our Sisters, we’ll be highlighting the crucial role that black women have played in inspiring change.

NatWest is committed to championing potential, and helping people, families and businesses to thrive. We have always been supporters of Ethnic Minority businesses and communities and will continue to build strong relationships and contribute to positive change wherever we can.

28/10/2023: The Voices In The Shadow Festival – Helping Black Females Thrive In Tech

The Voices in the Shadows, Tech Festival takes place in under a month.

This year, the GTA Black Women In Tech are going bigger and better!

There will be great panellists, networking opportunities and you get to hear from the fabulous women in the third volume of the book. Have you bought your ticket yet? Why not.

The festival is dedicated to supporting, connecting and celebrating Black women. Let’s #SaluteOurSistahs!

WeAreTheCity members have an exclusive 50% discount for this event, please book using promo code MICHAEL50

You can find more Black History Month events via our events calendar.


Netflix Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. – A fictionalised depiction of the true story of Madam C.J Walker. This series serves as an important glimpse at how Walker battled the hostilities of a racially discriminatory America. Walker, an African American entrepreneur, and pioneer who built a hair care empire, became the first Black female self-made millionaire in the United States.

Hidden figures – The film “Hidden Figures,” based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly, focuses on three African-American women who were essential to the success of early spaceflight. NASA embraces their legacy and strives to include everyone who wants to participate in ongoing exploration.

Inspirational speakers

Black History Month was created to challenge racism and to celebrate black culture and the lives of black people who have done remarkable things all around the world. It has since grown into a national event that is celebrated annually throughout the month of October.

This year’s theme is: Celebrating Our Sisters, Saluting Our Sisters, and Honouring Matriarchs of Movements.

Black History Month Speakers

Black History Month was created to challenge racism and to celebrate black culture and the lives of black people who have done remarkable things all around the world. It has since grown into a national event that is celebrated annually throughout the month of October.  See speakers here.


My Little Black Book: A Blacktionary. A pocket guide to the language of race | Dr Maggie Semple OBE & Jane Oremosu

Through their work with organisations and companies across the world, Maggie Semple and Jane Oremosu found that there was a need to help people as they discussed difference, race and inclusion. My Little Black Book: A Blacktionary aims to do just that.

This A-Z pocket guide is for people who are entering the workplace and finding their identity, for leaders and managers who feel overwhelmed by ever-evolving definitions and phrases, and for anyone who is afraid of saying the wrong thing and being judged. From explaining what microaggressions are and their impact to helping you understand what cultural appreciation is and how it’s different to cultural appropriation, this book will break down barriers to engaging in conversations on race.

Drawing together the best definitions as well as useful advice and tips, My Little Black Book: A Blacktionary is an essential tool to broaden your knowledge and live and work better with others.

Twice As Hard: Navigating Black Stereotypes And Creating Space For Success | Opeyemi Sofoluke and Raphael Sofoluke

Twice As Hard is an exploration of Black identity in the working world and a blueprint for success. You will learn what obstacles limit opportunity for Black professional progress, how to understand and overcome racial stereotypes, be productive, find purpose, and ultimately thrive in business.

Authors Opeyemi and Raphael Sofoluke explore their own personal brand of ethics, the challenges they have faced in their careers, and the learnings they took from them, before inviting other successful business people in a broad range of industries to share their experiences and the practical measures they take to realise their goals, too. Featuring tips on entrepreneurship, as well as insights on the corporate world, this book aims to empower and inspire Black professionals, get everyone thinking and talking about their actions, and continue the fight for a truly inclusive, understanding society.

Libertie: A Times Book of the Month and Roxane Gay’s Book Club May Pick| Kaitlyn Greenidge

Coming of age as a free-born Black girl in Brooklyn after the Civil War, Libertie Sampson was all too aware that her purposeful mother, a practising physician, had a vision for their future together: Libertie would go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie, drawn more to music than science, feels stifled by her mother’s choices and is hungry for something else – is there only one way to have an autonomous life? She is constantly reminded that, unlike her mother who can pass, Libertie has skin that is too dark. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it – for herself and for generations to come.

The Other Black Girl: The bestselling book behind the major 2023 TV series | Zakiya Dalila Harris

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and the micro-aggressions, she’s thrilled when Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events leaves Nella as Public Enemy Number One and Hazel, the Office Darling. Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk. It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realises that there is a lot more at stake than her career.

Felix Ever After | Kacen Callender

From Stonewall award-winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory young adult novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time. Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love and recognising the love you deserve in spite of racist and transphobic marginalisation.

Felix Love has never been in love – and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalisation too many – Black, queer and transgender – to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages – after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned – Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle . . .

Maybe I Don’t Belong Here: A Memoir of Race, Identity, Breakdown and Recovery | David Harewood (Author), David Olusoga (Foreword)

‘David Harewood writes with rare honesty and fearless self-analysis about his experiences of racism and what ultimately led to his descent into psychosis . . . This book is, in itself, a physical manifestation of that hopeful journey.’ – David Olusoga, author of Black and British.

This powerful and provocative memoir charts critically acclaimed actor David Harewood’s life from working-class Birmingham to the bright lights of Hollywood. He shares insights from his recovery after an experience of psychosis and uncovers a devastating family history. ‘Maybe I Don’t Belong Here’ is a ground-breaking account of the impact of everyday racism on Black mental health and a rallying cry to examine the biases that shape our society.

Black in Time: The Most Awesome Black Britons from Yesterday to Today | Alison Hammond (Author), E. L. Norry (Author)

Known for her quick wit, outrageous presenting style and infectious laugh, Alison Hammond has been a much-loved fixture on British television for two decades. Hammond is joined by Emma Norry, an author who writes fiction and non-fiction for children. She is passionate about equal representation and diversity.

‘Let me ask you a question: How many Black people can you name from our history? Mary Seacole? Ira Aldridge? George Bridgetower? Pablo Fanque? Walter Tull? Have you heard of these people? Yes? That’s great! But if you haven’t, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The people in this book should be totally famous given the AMAZING things they’ve done! And we’re not going to stop in the past. This book will introduce you to people making waves right here and now.’

Join us at WeAreTheCity in celebrating Black history and ‘Saluting our Sisters’ not just this month, but every day of every year.

About the author

MA Law Student, BA Politics & IR and Invisible Illness Campaigner. Mia Vallely has a BA Politics from the University of Nottingham and is currently studying Law at the University of Law, London.  She writes on current affairs, UK politics, human rights and geopolitical events.  

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