Black History Month takes place in October every year and celebrates the history of those who has historically been excluded from the narrative of humanity's progress. At Dulwich College, students experienced a programme of talks and seminars, many student-led, which has allowed them to gain a much deeper insight into the importance of Black History Month. Jamie Chong had the privilege of being able to interview Mrs Whittington, Head of Wellbeing and one of the key members of staff in organising the events.


  1. Why do you think Black History Month is so significant? What inspired the idea for this year’s BHM at Dulwich College? Why is this particularly pertinent this year?

Black History Month should be seen as everyone’s history. The focus for this year’s BHM at the College was ‘adding to history’ and this used the month to shine a light on those pioneers and figures that have been forgotten, lost and hidden. It is clear that their contribution was not just to ‘black history’ but to all history and where we are collectively today. As Professor Gary Younge has stated: ‘black British history is not a sub-genre of British history but an integral part of it[…] With sufficient imagination and solidarity all sorts of Britons can see themselves in this and spark their own transformative reckoning with who we are and how we got here.’


  1. How did you find the experience of organising the program for this year?

It was a truly collaborative experience to organise BHM this year and it is always this sense of collaboration and, therefore, authenticity that make the College so special. The senior prefects were instrumental in starting this academic year with a clear focus on diversity and they, alongside the College’s Diversity and Inclusion Alliance of pupils and staff, along with Dr Spence brought the discussion and ideas to a place of realisation. Heads of Subjects and also Society leaders all contributed to a full programme of events that took place both inside and beyond the classroom. Further to this, we had illuminating and vastly varied contributions from our guest speakers such as Amanda Wilkin, actor and playwright; Rodney Earl Clarke OA bass-baritone; Mani Arthur from the Black Cyclists Network; and musician Afrikan Boy. Both teachers and pupils commented on how much they have learnt and experienced over the course of the month! We also took part in ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ – the largest anti-racism charity in the UK – Wear Red Day which brought our entire College community together.


  1. What can students gain from this year’s program?

The month has been a celebration. It has been a time to reflect, challenge, share, question, extend and learn (and in many cases to re-learn). BHM is the start to what will be on-going discussions and platforms. This is what makes it, necessarily, become more than just a month. As we reflect on the murder of George Floyd and the debate, discussions and much needed awareness of the injustice that faces and impacts the lives of black people in every aspect of our society that the last few months have raised, BHM – and more importantly all that is continued beyond black history month – has been an opportunity to reclaim some of the lost and hidden history, to celebrate the lives and contributions of black excellence across the centuries, and through all of this for each and every student to recognise and feel empowered by the fact that they have a contribution to make towards achieving a more just, fair, equal, informed, empathetic and collective society.