Black History Month: Celebrate Black History and Culture this October

National Museums Liverpool is offering an exciting programme of events and activities for Black History Month.

Black History Month takes place every October. It is a national celebration that aims to celebrate Black people’s contributions to British society, and to foster an understanding of Black history in general.

The majority of events this year take place at the International Slavery Museum, Albert Dock and all are free. Full listings

Learn more about Black dancers’ contributions in a new exhibition at the International Slavery Museum, British dance: Black routes. The exhibition charts the experiences of Black British dancers from 1946-2005. Some of the different dance forms in Britain have come along the different routes taken by the families of today’s Black British citizens, many of whom came from the Caribbean in the late 1940s and 50s.

Alongside the new exhibition is series of events including a symposium on British dance which will highlight the contributions made by Black British dancers (25 October).

On 10 October Dr Jean Johnson-Jones from the University of Surrey will give a talk about Harriet Tubman, one of the most lauded figures in American history.

Born into slavery in Maryland, Tubman successfully escaped and became an operator of the Underground Railroad — a secret network of people, places and routes that provided shelter and assistance to enslaved people seeking freedom. Following the lecture will be Negro Spirituals – a suite of dances choreographed by Helen Tamiris, a pioneer of the American Modern Dance Movement.

Dr Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum, says “Black History Month is a very important event on the Museum’s calendar and is often the first time that some people engage and celebrate Black history and culture. This year we’ve got an eclectic and interesting line-up of events for all ages, from talks about Black British dance to a tour of the archives.”

Keep little ones entertained with craft sessions where they can design and make a badge inspired by the Black Achievers Wall at the museum (21-23 October), learn about Ghanaian Adinkra symbols and then make a colourful one to take home (24-25 October), or design a bright West African mask (12 October).

As well as events at the International Slavery Museum, there will also be a talk on 29 October at the Walker Art Gallery from artist Lubaina Himid about her work ‘We Will Be’ which is part of the current exhibition, New Works at the Walker.

Black History Month 2013 listings:

International Slavery Museum events

There will be a Black History Month Quiz available from the 1st October (at the Merseyside Maritime information desk).

Quilt code patterns

5 October

13.00 – 16.00

Learn the meanings and codes behind the patterns on African American quilts and how they helped the enslaved on the road to freedom. Then make a paper and fabric patchwork pattern of your own.

Lecture: Harriet Tubman and Negro Spirituals

10 October

18.00 – 20.00

Dr Jean Johnson-Jones from the University of Surrey will present a lecture that draws upon tales of the Underground Railroad and also Harriet ‘Moses’ Tubman, who used it to free those who were enslaved. Negro Spirituals is a suite of dances choreographed by Helen Tamiris, a pioneer of the American Modern Dance Movement; it is adapted by Dr Jones from the original Labanotation score. This event is free, but please reserve a place on 0151 478 4456.

Black History Month archive tour

11 October


Join our archivist for a look at the fascinating collections in the Maritime Archives and Library. Booking is essential as places are limited, please ring 0151 478 4046 or email to reserve your place.

African masks

12 October

13.00 – 16.00

Learn about the design of West African masks and make a colourful mask in this creative workshop.

Rocking to the rhythm

11 October

18.30 – 20.00

A lecture and demonstration looking at the journey of Jazz dance with the Jiving Lindy Hoppers, as seen through the eyes of the dancers. Meet the key figures who influenced the company and learn about the transatlantic relationships, the rocky roads they travelled and how they danced from their early beginnings on the cobbled streets of Covent Garden to the magnificence of the Olympic Stadium.

This event is free, but please reserve your place by phoning 0151 478 4456.

12 Degrees North dance company

19 October

13.00 – 15.00

Fusing the African Brazilian dance and defence form of Capoeira with contemporary styles, 12 Degrees North will deliver a dazzling new piece called Lucid.

Faces of change

21, 22, 23 October

13.00 – 16.00

Make a badge to take home inspired by the Museum’s wall of Black achievers.

Adinkra symbols

24-26 October

13.00 – 16.00

Discover the meaning and importance of Ghanaian Adinkra symbols and make your own colourful decoration to take home in this fun-filled arts and crafts session.

Black British dance on film

24 October

19.00 – 21.00

Enjoy an evening of archive film and discussion, exploring some of the UK’s pioneering Black dance groups. Booking essential on 0151 478 4046.

Dance symposium 

25 October 

11.00 – 17.30

This symposium event uncovers the experiences of Black British dancers and highlights their contributions to British dance. Meet curators and local dancers and participate in a panel discussion. This event is run in conjunction with De Montfort University and is free, but booking is essential, please phone 0151 478 4456 to reserve a place.

Capoiera club

Every Saturday

14.00 – 16.00

Capoiera is a Brazilian martial art that was developed by enslaved Africans in Brazil. It is a unique martial art that incorporates musicality, acrobatics and dance. Doing Capoiera improves fitness, flexibility, strength and self defence. All ages, levels of fitness and abilities welcome!

Walker Art Gallery event

Artist’s talk: Lubaina Himid

29 October 2013

13.00 – 14.00

Lubaina Himid talks about her work, ‘We Will Be’ which is featured in the exhibition, ‘New Works at the Walker’.


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