Black History Month Celebrations in Reading Throughout October

BLACK HISTORY MONTH returns to Reading this October 2016, with a packed programme of special events coordinated by the Council working with voluntary groups and organisations from across Reading.

Reading residents can look forward to a wide range of community celebrations, theatre, music, dance, exhibitions and historical talks.

Reading International Festival will also run during October from Monday 17th – Monday 31st October, with numerous events across the town run by Reading International Solidarity Centre.

The Bengali Cultural Society is marking the festival of Sharad Utsav on Friday 7th to Tuesday 11th October at Rivermead. The five day event will feature musical performances, dances and sporting activities, with daily cultural workshops available.

‘Our Journey So Far: Barbados 50th Anniversary of Independence’ opens at Reading Museum on Tuesday 4th October, with a display representing a community-wide programme of research into the life and times of Reading’s Barbadian Community. On Saturday 15th October people can join in with a Barbados and Friends Cultural Extravaganza, with traditional games, activities and food.

There will be a series of cultural talks at Reading Library: ‘Sikh Heritage & Architecture in Pakistan’, with Inderpal Singh Dhanjal, on Saturday 15th October and ‘This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World’ on Thursday 10th November.

The 2nd Uhuru Black International Film Festival runs throughout October at The Minghella Studios, Whiteknights Campus, University of Reading. The festival showcases the diversity of contemporary black cinema, as well as hosting special guest speakers and panel discussions with industry experts.

There will be an afternoon of performances from ‘days gone by’ including poetry and dance, as well as live musical entertainment from the Caribbean Serenaders at Reading YMCA on Saturday 8th October.

Theatre lovers can catch ‘Streets Paved With Gold’ at Reading Concert Hall on Saturday 15th October, a one man play about new beginnings in a foreign land and the humble beginnings of British African Caribbean people and at the Hexagon, Reading Operatic Society presents ‘Sister Act’ between 28th September to Saturday 1st October.

There will also be a lively timetable of talks, debates and discussions. The Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (ACRE) will be commemorating Anti-Slavery Day on Tuesday 18th October with guest speaker Colin Bobb-Semple’s overview of Transatlantic African Enslavement. On Wednesday 26th October at the Civic Offices there is a Question Time style panel ‘The Big Debate,’ with community members asking questions on issues affecting the black community.

Cllr Paul Gittings, Lead Member for Culture, Sport and Consumer Services, said: “Black History Month is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the important contribution that the black community has made to the diverse culture of this country and in Reading.

“There is so much going on throughout the month, with something for everyone. I encourage residents to take in some of the great events happening in the community and at venues around the town.”

For details of what’s on during Black History Month, visit


Notes for Editors:

Black History Month was established in the USA by Dr Carter G Woodson, a black American historian who created a month (February) for African Americans to have the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge themselves and their achievements.

In England, Black History Month was first celebrated in October 1987, African jubilee year, as part of a drive to improve racial harmony in London. It has since grown to encompass the whole country and to recognise and embrace the contributions and traditions of other black communities.

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Victoria Nickless

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