Hackney’s Black African and Caribbean history

Black History Season

Celebrating culture & history, recognising achievements and enriching young, Black Power in Hackney’s African and Caribbean community

Black History Season is a UK-wide annual celebration of the contribution that Black African and Caribbean communities have made both locally and across the world.

This year we will present a Council-led programme of vibrant activities to acknowledge local black history, highlight achievements and contributions, acknowledging the past and committing to a positive future.

The Black History programme will adapt to be mindful of the pandemic, so most activities will be held online and face to face activities will have social distancing measures in place.

The activities in the programme have been co-produced and commissioned with the local community.

Each year has a theme and in particular for this year, the Council has put Black History in context with its recent commitment to making Hackney an anti-racist borough and to acknowledge and respond to the Black Lives Matter movement.

This year’s programme

This year’s Black History programme spans a season of activities from October to December, which has derived from recent ambitions to make Hackney even more inclusive, representative and celebratory of its rich migration story of African and Caribbean communities settling in Hackney and beyond.

Our Black History Season in 2020 aims to:

  • celebrate the rich heritage and local history of Black people in Hackney, honouring the past and acknowledging the present and future contributions to the borough
  • link with the Council’s extensive and year-round work concerning Windrush, the Black Lives Matter and anti-racist motion
  • better reflect Hackney’s diversity and anti-racist history in the borough’s public realm through the Mayor’s Naming review of landmarks and public spaces linked to African enslavement history
  • acknowledge the International Decade for People of African Descent to raise awareness, educate on the history of people of African descent, and promote their contributions to contemporary societies
  • provide a range of inclusive activities for all ages being mindful and accessible to the digital divide
  • provide guidance and tools to Hackney’s schools to create a diverse and anti-racist curriculum that educates children and young people on Britain’s role in upholding systemic racism, and our borough’s local diverse history

Black History Season flag

The winning design from Malaika Parillon Langlais Baron, who won the schools Black History Month competition in 2018, will be flown again throughout October.

Youth services

Young Hackney are marking Black History Season across the borough’s youth hubs, adventure playgrounds sports and participation services with a broad range of fun and informative activities, workshops, events and visits for people under 19, or under 25 with additional needs.

This year’s theme, ‘Young, Black Power’, is an exploration of all the ways in which the African and Caribbean cultural heritage has informed, enriched and sometimes been co-opted by Western monoculture. The programme of events and activities promotes the history and contributions of African and Caribbean communities. Aimed to help us understand the present through our past.

Suggested reading

During October and to celebrate Black History Season, Hackney Libraries will post regular book recommendations on Facebook and Twitter with the following themes:

  • Black British sci fi and fantasy authors
  • Black crime fiction authors
  • Afro Caribbean classics
  • child and teen Black authors

Hackney Museum

Join Hackney Museum for an online screening of a new film which gives an overview of African and Caribbean history in the local area. The film features stories from our collections, displays and exhibitions, creatively woven together by spoken word artist and performer, Bad Lay-Dee. Followed by a Q&A.

Explore our Black British history timeline which focuses on people and events specifically linked to Hackney.

Black History poster map

The Council has produced a new Black History poster map which highlights significant moments in history and maps positive landmarks and legacies across Hackney:

Hackney Libraries

As well as suggested book recommendations, Hackney Libraries Black History programme features live events with African-Caribbean genealogist Paul Crooks, an online reading group, guided Black history walks and a Children’s Schedule.

Every Wednesday in October, Hackney Libraries will post a short video featuring an African or Caribbean recipe for you to try and share with your friends.

Hackney Archives

Throughout the season and available all year, Hackney Archives will delve into its collection to uncover the histories of the borough’s African and Caribbean communities. This year, along with social action project ACCOUNT, they will host ‘Stop & Research’, a workshop exploring the past, present and future of policing in Hackney, plus residents can find out how to ’Archive Your History’.

Windrush engagement programme

We’ll be launching our Windrush artwork education programme, including our newly designed Windrush teaching units for primary and secondary schools, and engagement workshops for schools and the wider community with the Windrush artwork commission winning artists Thomas J Price and Veronica Ryan.

Review into landmarks and naming of public spaces

The Council have been working with the community steering group to provide an audit of streets, buildings, spaces, statues, landmarks, plaques and schools that have been named after people linked to African enslavement and colonial history.

The review will listen to the views of residents, partners and others in order to set out a number of recommendations to enable the Council to make informed decisions about how it addresses the history and legacy of African enslavement and the memorialisation of people linked to the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism in Hackney’s public realm.

The full programme and updates will be published on the Black History Facebook page in the run-up to Black History Season.

Page updated on: 16 November 2020

Cultural Development Team


Hackney Town Hall
Mare St
E8 1EA

Opening times

  • Mon to Fri: 9am - 5pm