Black history month often looks at two pillars of history, these are the social and political aspects, though it does not look at the economic factor. This is interesting as economics is key to the creation and sustainability of a community and its the engine for developing social policy and political engagement.
If there are talks on economics then more of our own people could be economically empowered, for example most black history month shows and events are usually funded by the UK government or third sector organisations (who get their funding from the government). Looking at other cultures, they get to select their own programmes for the celebration of their culture and history whilst black people in the UK and America ,
If we funded our own historic celebrations we would be able to align them with African cultural celebrations where African American and Caribbean culture could be joined up then we would be able to have a culture to celebrate.
This could be through recognising African cultural ceremonies and festivals within that month to make the diaspora aware of what we are about as a people. This would mean the events would be totally controlled by ourselves rather than another race and we could control what content and events are hosted within the month or black history recognition period.
This would create the opportunity for us to learn about economics and how we created jobs for ourselves and communities. How we spent, saved and invested our money in order to build our communities between 1950 and 1990 (in the UK) and pre 1965 (in the US).
This would be a lesson we could take away in regards to the choices we have to make in rebuilding neighbourhoods and empowering local people to re establish communities, creating cultural links and identity between Caribbean and African people, who are one in the same and banishing many of the stereotypes which those born before 1970 (and of Caribbean descent) are unable to break down or overcome.
This would then lead into the date of black history month being changed, from a autumn or mid-winter month to being in the summer when we can enjoy the sun and the nights are not getting dark so early. The way in which black history month has been positioned it seems as though the funders and establishments of both countries have decided to hide it. We should take it over or create our own and ensure it is celebrated at a time in which we can choose and not the timing in line with persons who are not affected by this culture.
How could we fund our own cultural celebrations
This is more difficult than suggested since it requires planning funding and implementation.
This could be by anyone interested in promoting black history, those already involved in black history month planning, events planning even those with an interest in planning. They could plan for their local area, starting small, and create an event for those who are interested, and may possibly be interested.
The persons planning should form a committee or consortium as more than two people will be required to ensure its not too much work. In terms of locations there are black community centres which can be used to showcase films, lectures, and talks. There are also parks which can be rented from the local authority for a day or licences which can be gained to host ceremonies and cultural celebrations in parks, within black areas or close to black areas.
This is the most difficult as black people are less willing to fund their own projects, less so than any other race unless it is something which is not to the benefit of our race or if its something provided by persons outside our race.
This would be by looking for tickets to be sold and a entry fee for the event, other ways of revenue could be partnering with black businesses to sponsor or endorse events.
This is a difficult one but there are ways and this blog is not exhaustive in providing such ways.
This would require great team work and resourcefulness, many of those who have arranged events before would be able to support and advise on how to complete and deliver an event, ceromony and celebration.
There are ways in which this can be done but if we can work together and share our varied skills and experience then this should be a challenge which will be met.
These are just snippets of ways in which this could be tackled and there are other ways in which we could create a month which would celebrate of our achievements and progress including the economic one. Its just a case of finding it, planning it and implementing it.
Here are some black people who were successful in business in history: