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Black History Month

Black History Month celebrates the contribution of Black, African and Caribbean communities locally and across the globe.

Hackney Council is marking this year's Black History Month with a special exhibition 'Strike a Pose' at Hackney Museum. The exhibition features photographic portraits of local people capturing the essence of the 1970s.

As well as highlighting contributions made by the Black community, there will also be a wide range of events for children, schools and young people.

All events are free but you may in advance, so please check the relevant details in the programme and keep an eye on the website for exciting new additions to our event programme.

Last year's events attracted our biggest turnout yet. We want you to join us and celebrate Black History Month 2014 in Hackney.

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Events and exhibitions

Yoruba tales with Olabade Ogunlana

Friday 3 October, 2pm-4pm, Homerton Library

Come along and share the Yoruba folklore handed down to Olabade Ogunlana from an oral tradition stretching back centuries. The stories are a treasure chest of knowledge on culture, history and storytelling. The tradition is being lost, both to Yoruba speakers and to the world at large, but this wonderful event will bring it to life for you. All ages welcome. No booking required

Black heritage art workshop

Saturday 4 October, 2pm-3.30pm, Clapton Library

Come and find out about Black achievers and inventors and learn how to colour portraits with oil pastels. For children of all ages. No booking required.

Walk around South Hackney

Saturday 4 October, 11am-1pm

Which church in Shoreditch had a role in the anti-slavery movement? Who jabbed his way out of Hoxton? Join our Black history walk around South Hackney and you'll find out. The walk will be led by Patrice Lawrence, author of 'Granny Ting Ting' and 'Wild Papa Woods.'

Meet outside the Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road, E2 8EA at 11.00am. To book your place contact, Linda Sydow on: 020 8356 2509 or

Vitamin D and you

Friday 10 October, 6.30pm-8.00pm, Dalston CLR James Library

Come along to this fascinating talk to learn about vitamin D deficiency which is being acknowledged as the new disease among people of African, Caribbean and Asian heritage. If you are worried about this come and find out about the latest research and learn what you could do to improve your vitamin D level from Brenda Lee, a wholistic nutritionist and medical researcher. For Adults. No booking required.

Abolitionists in Stoke Newington

Saturday 11 October, 11am-12.30pm, Clissold House

Hackney has had enjoyed a reputation for radicalism and dissent. Some of the great figures of the abolition movement including James Stephen's and William Allen called Hackney home. Join us for a stroll down Stoke Newington Church Street to find out more about the abolitionist movement and the role the borough played.

Book online or call Lucy Gijsen on: 020 8356 4600. The walk starts at Clissold House, Clissold Park (off Stoke Newington Church Street/Green Lanes N16)

African and Caribbean story time with music

Saturday 11 October, 2pm-3pm, Shoreditch Library

Children will enjoy wonderful tales from Africa and the Caribbean. They'll get to bang, shake and rattle an assortment of traditional instruments and generally make some noise. Fruits inspired by the stories will also be on offer. For children of all ages. No booking required

Black History Month kids day

Saturday 11 October, 2pm-4pm, Central Library

Chance to learn facts about Black History. Find the clues in the mini treasure hunt and win a goodie-bag. Colouring sheets and domino sets will be available all afternoon. For children of all ages. No booking required

"Sidney Bechet, my father" - with Daniel-Sidney Bechet

Saturday 11 October, 2pm-4pm, Dalston CLR James Library

Join Daniel-Sidney Bechet to hear him talk about his late father, Sidney Bechet, and his memories of growing up with a famous father. Sidney Bechet, acknowledged as the greatest ever player of the soprano saxophone, ranks among the greatest of the early masters of jazz, up there with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie. For adults. No booking required

Battling Eczema and Allergies: Diary of a Desperate Mother

Wednesday 15 October, 6.30pm-7.30pm, Central Library

Hackney author Fredericka Charles will talk about how she came to write her new book on dealing with her son's eczema and allergies. You'll also have the chance to ask questions. For adults. No booking required.

Beautifying the Body

Tuesday 21 October, 6.30pm-8pm, Central Library

Body adornment has enormous significance in Africa. The quest for beautification is central to African cultures from the time of the ancient Egyptians up to the present. Come and listen to Christelle Kedi talk about her book, 'Beautifying the Body in Ancient Africa and Today.' Her book looks at the history of adornment and its practical application today in Africa and among black people worldwide. For adults. No booking required.

Hackney's Hidden Enslavement Stories

Tuesday 21 October, 6pm-7.30pm, Hackney Archives, CLR James Library, Dalston 

Researchers Kate Donington and Kristy Warren introduce the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project and offer an interactive demonstration of how to use the Encyclopaedia of British Slave-ownership for local and family history research.

You will find out more about the Local Roots/Global Routes project as an example of what can be done using the online database alongside local history resources. The project's education intern, Charlie Morgan, will talk about the work he has done turning the local history research into a resource. He will also discuss the stories that have been uncovered linking Hackney to the global history of slavery and its abolition. For adults. To book your place contact, Linda Sydow on: 020 8356 2509; or

A celebration of the life of Maya Angelou

Thursday 23 October, 7pm-9pm, Dalston CLR James Library

The inspirational Maya Angelou sadly passed away in May. She was an award winning poet a novelist and civil rights campaigner. Among her most famous works are the autobiographical 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' and her poem 'On the Pulse of Morning' which she recited at President Bill Clinton's inauguration. Join Ngoma Bishop from Black and Ethnic Minority Network's (BEMA) in honouring her memory. For adults. Light refreshments provided. No booking required.

Charleston workshop

Thursday 23 October, 7.30pm-8.30pm, Stoke Newington Library

Join Jerome for this fun workshop which will run through some basic Charleston moves such as the 'Black Bottom' and 'Granny's Kneecaps'. The Charleston developed within the Black communities in the USA. It became a popular dance craze internationally in the 1920s and is often associated with the prohibition era when it was considered to be quite provocative. You do not need a partner to attend, just bring your dancing shoes. All ages welcome. No booking required.

Black heroes quiz

Saturday 25 October, 2.00pm - 3.00pm, Stamford Hill Library

For children aged 7-11. Your children can test their knowledge at our fun quiz. There will be certificates for every child and there will also some prizes! No booking required.

Songs, words and drums

Tuesday 28 October, 7pm-9pm, Shoreditch Library

Join The House of Amau for an evening of stories and traditional folk songs from Africa and the Caribbean told by excellent griots - West African storytellers and poets who are a repository of oral tradition. For adults. No booking required. Light refreshments will be provided.

Tinga Tinga Time

Tuesday 28 October, 11am-12.30pm, Homerton Library

For children aged 8 years and under. Come and enjoy the story of 'How the lion got his roar' based on the Cbeebies animated Tinga Tinga Tales  Your child will also make a lion mask to take home. No booking required.

Fruits of Africa workshop and story time

Wednesday 29 October, 3pm-4.30pm, Dalston CLR James Library

Children can come and make a collage of the fruit's of Africa and listen to the popular story, 'Handa's Surprise'. All collages made will be displayed in the Children's library. For children of all ages. No booking required.

Moving stories

Wednesday 29 October, 10am-12.30pm or 2pm-4.30pm, Hackney Museum

For all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult

Drop in and discover more about the lives behind the faces in the 'Strike a Pose'exhibition in Hackney Museum with our Windrush stories actor. Using poetry, drama and storytelling, families can explore people's stories of moving to Hackney. No booking required.

A Tree Without Roots: Talk and workshop with Paul Crooks

Thursday 30 October, 6.30pm-7.30pm, Hackney Archives

Come along and listen to Paul Crooks talk about his book 'A Tree Without Roots' detailing how he managed to trace his family tree back to his Great Great Great Grandmother Ami Djaba who was living in 1777 at Krobo Mountain in Ghana. Paul will then give guidance on how to start tracing your own family tree.

For adults. Booking required. To book your place contact Linda Sydow on: 020 8356 2509 or

Tropical fruit smoothie making

Thursday 30 October, 2pm-3pm, Stoke Newington Library

Young children will learn how to make delicious tropical fruit smoothies. All fruit provided and they'll get a tasty smoothie. For children aged 5 to 10 years. No booking required

Ruminations and reflections of moving to Hackney and 25 years of the UN Slave Roots Project

Thursday 6 November, 6.30pm-7.30pm, Hackney Museum

Family history from an African diaspora perspective involves following a journey through the legacy of enslavement by looking at maps, documentary records, oral history and DNA.

Patrick Vernon OBE, a leading expert on African and Caribbean genealogy in the UK, will share two case studies highlighting the slave routes from the Transatlantic and the Indian Ocean slave trades based on his family history and the life of the late Walter Mbotela who lived in Frere Town, Mombasa in Kenya. The presentaiton compares the different journeys of enslavement and the importance of the UN Slave Project, as well as the forthcoming plans of Caribbean governments' in taking legal action for reparations.

For adults. To book your place contact, Linda Sydow on: 020 8356 2509; or

Putting the Black in the Union Jack: Reclaiming Black British histories

Saturday 8 November, time TBC, Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AH

What makes a 'nation'? What is 'national history'? Who belongs in the story? Why does it matter? The black presence in Britain has a long and rich history and yet black British history has often been marginalised. This event will explore some of the key periods within British national history through the lens of the black experience. It will explore the ways in which we can tell these histories through the stories of African men, women and children and their descendants and showcase some of the best of black British culture including readings by Andrea Stuart and S.I. Martin as well as performances from poets, musicians and DJs.

For adults. Tickets to the event are free and you will be able to book your place on line through Eventbrite. For further information contact or 020 8356 2509.

Strike a Pose - Portraits from Gibson's Photo Studio in Hackney

1 October 2014-17 January 2015, Hackney Museum

This unique exhibition shows the many faces of Hackney during the 1970s, including wedding parties outside Hackney Town Hall from African, Asian and Caribbean families; studio portraits with nurses from the Caribbean in their uniforms; family portraits at home; university graduations and all the fashion and styles of the decade.

Visit the exhibition and see if you can identify some of the people in the photos.

What a Journey! - Retired Caribbean Nurses and the NHS

10 September 2014 - 31January 2015, Hackney Museum

This special exhibition in partnership with Black Women in the Arts shares the experiences of retired Caribbean nurses who served in Hackney and neighbouring areas from 1949 to 1970. The NHS was set up in 1948 in the aftermath of the Second World War during a shortage of labour. They recruited staff for this new service directly from the Caribbean. Thousands of people travelled to this country to be trained as nurses to help improve the health of others. Through this exhibition you will hear nurses' stories of commitment, dedication and life long friendships.

For more information email:

Who were the Slave Owners of Hackney?

1 October 2014-7 February 2015, Hackney Museum

Many wealthy people moved to Hackney - some had made their money through connections to slavery, some owned slaves, others lent money to slave owners and others sold goods produced by slave labour.

This exhibition explores aspects of Hackney's slave owners during the 18th and 19th centuries, in partnership with the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project at University College London.

Schools at Hackney Museum

Hackney Museum will be running free workshops for classes from Hackney primary schools during October. Children can explore photography, identity and belonging in creative workshops with professional musicians, story tellers, poets and actors. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis.

For more information and to book your workshop email:

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Page updated: 11 Sep 2014 

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