Sussex Salon debate: Do we need Black History Month?

Celebrated in the UK since 1987, Black History month (October) was founded to celebrate and highlight the Afro-Caribbean and Asian contribution to our history and culture.

But 25 years on, how important is Black History Month when it comes to celebrating black achievement or highlighting prejudice and inequality – and should we separate black success from the mainstream anyway?

These are some of the questions that will be addressed by a panel of speakers at the first event in a new series of Sussex Salons.

The public debates, involving expert opinion and questions from the audience, focus on hot current affairs topics and draw on the expertise of University academics and leading commentators in the fields of law, politics and sociology.

Do We Need Black History Month? takes place at the Brighton Dome Studio (formerly the Pavilion Theatre) on Tuesday 23 October 2012, between 8pm and 10pm.

The panel of speakers includes Sussex alumna and one of the founders of the UK Black History Month, Linda Bellos.

The full panel is:

  • Clive Webb, Professor of Modern American History at the University of Sussex, whose research interests include American and British race and the black civil rights struggle. He is currently researching two books: one on mob violence against Mexicans in the United State and another on the influence of the American civil rights movement on British race relations;
  • Dr Rumy Hassan, a political economist and Senior Lecturer in SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Sussex. Dr Hassan also has a research interest in critiquing British multiculturalism;
  • Linda Bellos OBE is Chair of the Institute of Equality and Diversity Practitioners, which supports professionals who advise public, private and third sector businesses on delivering equality.  The black, Jewish lesbian one-time politician was once described in The Guardian as “perhaps the angriest woman of all”. She is a diversity champion, businesswoman and gay activist – and an alumna of the University of Sussex;
  • Althea Wolfe of the Brighton and Hove Black History Project, which seeks to reveal Brighton and Hove’s hidden past and helps local people get involved in mapping their own history of the city.

The event is open to all. Tickets cost £6 (£4 concessions), which includes a drink. Audience members are invited to comment, ask questions and to vote on questions raised during the evening via an electronic balloting system.

The Sussex Salon Series is organised by Dr Ruth Woodfield, a University of Sussex sociologist and Director of Widening Participation for the School of Law, Politics and Sociology. Dr Woodfield says: “We are excited about this season’s salons – they promise to provide an excellent forum for discussing a range of highly topical issues.”

Notes for Editors

Do We Need Black History Month?

Brighton Dome Studio 8pm (doors 7.30pm). To book tickets online visit the Dome Box Office or call 01273 709 709.

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune and Jacqui Bealing. Tel: 01273 678 888. Email:

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Last updated: Tuesday, 16 October 2012