Black History Month launches with hundreds of events across the country this October, amid a new campaign encouraging people of all ages to share what they are proud to be on social media.

Now in its 34th year, this Black History Month has a renewed focus on black British resistance to racism – inspired in part by last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests – and celebrates key figures who have made substantial contributions to the country.


Walter Tull 

Walter Tull was born on 28th April 1888. He was an English Professional Footballer and army officer of Afro-Caribbean descent. He played as an inside forward and half back for Clapton, Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town and was the third person of mixed heritage to play in the top division of the Football League after Arthur Wharton and Willie Clarke. He was also the first black player to be signed for Rangers F.C. in 1917 while stationed in Scotland. When the First World War started, Walter Tull served in the Middlesex regiment. He was also involved in the two Footballers' Battalions. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 30 May 1917 and killed in action on 25 March 1918. He was also involved in including in the two Footballers' Battalions. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 30 May 1917 and killed in action on 25 March 1918. Walter Tull is commemorated on Bay 7 of the Arras Memorial which commemorates 34,785 soldiers who have no known grave, who died in the Arras sector.

Claudia Jones

Claudia Jones, who was born Claudia Vera Cumberbatch (21 February 1915 – 24 December 1964), was a Trinidad and Tobago-born journalist and activist. When she was a child she migrated to the US where she became a communist Political Activist, feminist and Black Activist. Due to the persecution of communist sin 1955 she was deported and subsequently lived in the UK, where she joined the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). She remained a member of this party for the rest of her life, she then founded Britain's first major black newspaper the West Indian Gazette (WIG) in 1958, and played a central role in founding the Notting Hill Carnival, the second largest annual carnival in the world. Jones died on Christmas Eve 1964, aged 49, and was found on Christmas Day at her flat. A post-mortem declared that she had suffered a massive heart attack, due to heart disease and tuberculosis. n August 2008, a blue plaque was unveiled on the corner of Tavistock Road and Portobello Road commemorating Claudia Jones as the "Mother of Caribbean Carnival in Britain". In 2018 Jones was named by the Evening Standard on a list of 14 "Inspirational black British women throughout history"


Lilian Bader

Lilian Bader was born in the Toxteth Park Area in Liverpool on 18th February 1918. In 1927 after her father died, Bader and her two brothers were orphaned. She was then separated from her brothers and placed in a convent, she remained here until she was 20 years old. In 1939, at the onset of the Second World War, Bader enlisted in the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI) at Catterick Camp, Yorkshire. She was dismissed after seven weeks when it was discovered that her father was not born in the United Kingdom. On 28 March 1941 she enlisted in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), after she heard that the Royal Air Force (RAF) were taking citizens of West Indian descent. She trained in instrument repair, which was a trade newly opened to women. She then became a Leading Aircraft Woman and was eventually promoted to the rank of corporal. She became one of the first Black women to join the British armed forces. In 1943, she married Ramsey Bader who was a tank driver, who served in the 147th (Essex Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. She was given compassionate discharge from her position in February 1944, when she became pregnant with her first son. Ultimately, they had two children together, Geoffrey and Adrian. After the war, Lilian and her husband moved to Northamptonshire to raise their family. Bader studied for O-Levels and A-levels in evening classes in the 1960s, then studied at London University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. Following this she would have a career as a teacher. Lilian Bader died at the age of 97 on 13 March 2015. In October 2020, Bader was commemorated by the publication of an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 

John Blanke

John Blanke, was a Black musician in the early 16th century. He probably came to England as one of the African attendants of Catherine of Aragon in 1501. He is one of the earliest recorded black people in England after the Roman period. Little is known of Blanke's life, but he was paid 8 pence per day by King Henry VII. A surviving document from the accounts of the Treasurer of the Chamber records a payment of 20 shillings to "John Blanke the Blacke Trumpet" as wages for the month of November 1507, with payments of the same amount continuing monthly through the next year. He successfully petitioned Henry VIII for a wage increase from 8d (Pence)to 16d (Pence). The Westminster Tournament Roll is an illuminated, 60-foot-long manuscript now held by the College of Arms; it recorded the royal procession to the lavish tournament held on 12 and 13 February 1511 to celebrate the birth of a son, Henry, Duke of Cornwall (d. 23 February 1511), to Catherine and Henry VIII on New Year's Day 1511. John Blanke is depicted twice, as one of the six trumpeters on horseback in the royal retinue (A retinue is a group of people that accompany an important person).