Meesha Cru-Hall: What Black History Month means to me


I don’t have strong childhood memories of the celebration of Black History Month. It was probably entering my late teens that I became better aware of the annual proceedings, and not until this year that I had a real understanding and investment in it. In my life growing up, it was more of an extracurricular activity that was mentioned once or twice at school.

In truth, I’m conflicted.

I have witnessed Black people criticise the month just as much as I’ve seen people of other races do, which has been a strange experience for me because I want to find solace in the celebration of the individuals that have come before me and in those that will surely come after me. Forget the racial divide that I have seen Black History Month cause, we have enough of that, and if that’s all October does for some people - I’d like to reinvent it, revamp or re-imagine it.

I’m proud that Addai-Sebo thought our country was worth educating. It shows that he also thought our country was capable of great change, which it has shown it can do. On the one hand, I’ve personally recognised that just one month of dedication out of twelve can cause such hesitancy and resistance - yet, I still yearn for recognition and appreciation for my people - so where is the compromise?

1988, Addai-Sebo, pictured centre right, alongside Ansel Wong, then Principal Race Equality Advisor at the London Strategic Policy Unit (centre left) and Bernard Wiltshire (far left), as well as Vitus Evans (far right).

You may ask, what about me? Well, what about us?

While I may have noticed how Black History Month has become somewhat of a controversial occasion in many of my spaces, the burdensome self-hate and self-doubt manifestations that have ingrained themselves within Black people and their history is a discussion worth having. The fact that sometimes I can look in the mirror and not understand or recognise the individual that stares back at me is worth talking about. So whether it is in October, May, August or any other month, my interest is in leading those discussions in a way that better impacts our future and sees every black person take pride in their history.

Meesha Cru-Hall