Black History Month 2022



Black History Month is an annual event which originated in the United States, where it’s also known as African-American History Month.

It began as a way of remembering important people and events in thehistory of African diaspora(1). It’s celebrated in February in the United States and Canada, while in UK and Ireland it’s observed in October.

Negro History Week

The precursor to Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States when historian Carter Woodson(2), see photo below, and the Association for the Study of Negro Life & History announced the second week of February to be Negro History Week.

This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln (12th Feb) and that of Frederick Douglass(3) on (14th Feb), see photo below. Both occasions had been celebrated by black communities since the late 19th century. For example, in January 1897 school teacher Mary Terrell persuaded the Washington DC school board to set aside the afternoon of Douglass' birthday to teach about his life and work in the city's segregated public schools.

The first Negro History Week was met with a relatively luke warm response nationally however, it was adopted by the states of North Carolina, Delaware and West Virginia as well as the cities of Baltimore, NYC, Philadelphia and Washington DC.

Black History Month


It was first proposed by black lecturers and students at Kent State University in February 1969 with the first celebration taking place a year later. As with Negro History Week, it was initially viewed with some scepticism:

  • It was criticised as being limited to educational institutions; 
  • People questioned whether it was appropriate to confine the celebration of black history to one month; and 
  • It was often viewed that complex historical figures were being overly simplified to become basic objects of hero worship.

In fact some critics within the black community itself referred to the celebration as just another form of racism. For example, the actor Morgan Freeman stated “I don't want a black history month - black history is American history". 

Despite it’s detractors, the event gathered momentum and after six years it was being celebrated right across the country. It also spread outside the United States with Black History Month first being celebrated in the UK in 1987, Germany in 1990, Canada in 1995 and more recently Ireland in 2010.


The UK


Now in its 35th year, this year's theme is ‘Time for Change: Action Not Words’. A post on Black History Month UK’s website reads: 

“To ensure real change, we need real support from our allies. It’s time to reset your mindset and support us with actions, not words. Join with us, see something, say something, don’t be a passive bystander. Not just at the weekend in the club or playing sports, but on the street, in shops, at work.”

The intention behind the theme is to educate and empower people to be true allies in the fight against racism. There are several events, both online and in person, taking place throughout the month to spotlight UK black culture and talent.


A focus on Football  


The following article from October 2021 details several inspirational black UK footballers including Emma Clarke (see photo below) who played for the British Ladies Team in 1895 - please click here

Here at Hanwell 


One of the first things I remember from my first home game at Hanwell back in October 2021 are the two ‘No to Racism’ signs. One is on the veranda with another on the gate from the pitch to the tunnel - see photos below.

It’s also something that Lucy the owner of the Dodo Micropub commented on when we met at the club to discuss the arrangement for a pop up back in July 2022.

Racism is something the Club takes seriously and it forms a key part of our Club Ground Rules. These are displayed around the ground as well as on the ‘Your Visit’ section of our website:

The following behaviour is strictly forbidden and will result in immediate ejection and subsequent ban from the ground:

    • The use of threatening behaviour, foul or abusive language; or 
    • Racial, homophobic or discriminatory abuse, chanting or harassment. 

In keeping with this years theme: 

  • Should you encounter or observe any racism then:
    1. Should you feel comfortable, such as an inappropriate comment made by a friend, then please feel free to challenge the behaviour yourself. 
    2. If not, please alert one of our stewards or a club official who can then take appropriate action. 
    3. Alternatively, you can report the incident via the independent organisation KickItOut.

  • Should you be subject to any form of racism then please make one of our stewards or club official aware as soon as possible.


What’s Next?


Each year, March 8th is known as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. We intend to recognise the occasion by ‘interviewing’ some of our players about their experiences of racism during their playing career to date and/or within their personal lives. 

Russell Simpson




(1) A diaspora is a population that is scattered across regions which are separate from its geographic place of origin. Historically, the word was used first in reference to the dispersion of Greeks in the Hellenic world.

(2) Carter Godwin Woodson (1875 - 1950) was an American historian, author, journalist, and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life & History. He was one of the first scholars to study the history of the African diaspora, including African-American history.

(3) Frederick Douglass (1817 - 1895) is an American social reformer, abolitionist, public speaker, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became the national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York.