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Why It’s Important to Support Black Businesses Beyond Black History Month

Chloe Jessamy

Posted on October 25 2020

Black history month

 

Black History Month is here for 2020, marking 50 years since its inception in the United States. It first hit Britain in 1987, and we celebrate it every October by delving into history to highlight the people and events who have shaped our past and continue to have an influence over our lives today. Many people make an effort to talk to their kids about their roots, support black businesses and to lobby for black history to feature on the school curriculum.

 

However, as important as Black History Month is, it is also important to find black businesses to support all year round. As Catherine Ross, editor of the Black History Month website says, “Black History Month 2020 is a time for people to come together and hopefully learn lessons for the present and the future.” So, let’s use this BHM to help us discover new black-owned businesses to spend our money with 365 days a year!

 

Why Black History Month is Important

Unfortunately, black history is still rarely talked about in the media and in schools, and this is a real shame. We could learn so many important lessons by looking back into the history of black people in Britain and around the world. And we could also learn more about the amazing achievements that people of colour have made.

From Katherine Johnson, NASA’s first ever black female scientist and the mathematician who played a key role in the success of the first manned space flights, to Harriet Tubman, the former slave who returned to the Deep South to rescue 70 others, we very rarely hear about these awe-inspiring feats. Especially outside of Black History Month.

I am delighted that my children are keen to learn about the role of black people in history. They are avid viewers of Kids’ Black History on YouTube every Wednesday, in particular.

 

Trailblazing Black Businesses

Black businesses are not a new phenomenon in Britain. Jumping back to the 1770s, Ignatius Sancho was born on a ship, orphaned and taken to Greenwich, where he was given as a slave to a family whilst still a toddler. He managed to educate himself in a time when that was strictly forbidden for slaves, went to work for a duke and eventually became free. 

Having saved a little money, he invested it into a grocery store in Westminster that became a haunt for the great and good of the artistic world at the time. He was such a popular local figure, that he became the first black Briton to vote in an election.

Another famous black-owned business was the brainchild of fashion designer Bruce Oldfield. From being fostered by Barnardos, he went on to design clothes for celebrities and royalty under the company to which he gave his name. He is still in charge of the business, which launched in 1975, as well as being the vice-president of Barnardos.

It is so important to celebrate black success stories, and I am blessed to think that one day, my children will look back with pride about the fact that their mum was the first black female greeting card publisher to have been stocked by Waterstones. To be part of a British institution of the last 40 years is still so exciting and hopefully could open the doors to many more brilliant black businesses being supported too. 

 

Black Businesses to Support All Year Round 

If you want to know some of my favourite black businesses to support all year round, follow me on social media. I’ve compiled a list of some that I absolutely love, and I know you will too. I will reveal them every month so you can spend with them whenever you like, not just during Black History Month.

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