Black History Month is taking place on campus this October and will be marked by the return of former University of Sussex student Linda Bellos, activist and ex-politician, who established the event in the UK more than 20 years ago.

The event will consist of a programme of events, open to staff, students and visitors, which will include film screenings, soul-singing workshops and book club discussions. The events will be concluded with a talk by Linda Bellos herself.

Bellos graduated from the University of Sussex in 1981 with a Politics degree and went on to be elected as a Labour councillor to Lambeth Council in 1985. She then became leader of the council between 1986 and 1988, as the number of black councillors saw a sharp increase from 100 to 500 throughout the UK. She was the second black woman to become leader of a British local authority, and in 1987 organised the very first Black History Month as part of African Jubilee Year.

The programme will officially begin at 6pm on 5 October with a screening of “The Great Debaters” featuring the highly acclaimed actor Denzel Washington. After this, every Monday evening at 6pm this month, a film will be screened, including “Mr and Mrs Iyer” on 12 October, “The Colour Purple” on 19 October and “Do the Right Thing” on 26 October.

A collection of short films will also be shown during the day including “Top Girl” on 16 October and Oscar’s Comeback on 19 October.
A lecture on the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) will be given by Professor Patricia Sullivan from the University of South Carolina on 12 October. She will also discuss its role as the “crystallising force of Negro citizenship”.

Furthermore, be prepared for a different culinary atmosphere around campus as special catering menus will be introduced specially for the event, which will include lunchtime cookery demonstrations.
The event will come to a close on 29 October when a talk will be given by Linda Bellos.

Abi Brook, Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator, said: “The engagement from staff and students from across the University has enabled us to offer a varied mix of free events that we hope will appeal to everyone.”

Black History Month is held every October in Britain, and February in USA and Canada. It aims to:

  • Promote knowledge of Black history, culture and heritage
  • Disseminate information on positive Black contributions to British society
  • Heighten the confidence and awareness of Black people in their cultural heritage.

In Britain, it has now grown to over 6,000 events.

For a full list of the events programme for Black History Month, visit

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