Giovanni’s Room and Black History Month 2020

Black History Month: A Time to Educate and Change

This years Black History Month could not have come at a better time to educate the allies of the Black Community and the Black Lives Matter Movement. A movement that has continued fighting. This year’s Black History Month follows the mission statement: Dig Deeper. Look Closer. Think Bigger. Founding Director of Museumand, Catherine Ross has written an insightful article at why this BHM is the most important than ever: “Black culture isn’t just a commodity to be appropriated and monetised, and Black history isn’t just a month to be ticked off a calendar dominated by a white-washed version of history.”

James Baldwin’s ‘Giovanni’s Room‘ and What I Learnt:

As part of the SU’s Black History Month, a few events have been taking place, set to educate and bring people together over the course of October. One of the events that took place was the Virtual Book Club where members of the BAME Committee chose books to be read and become topics of conversation. I decided to read Giovanni’s Room, the oldest book in the selection.

This story follows David, a young bisexual man, navigating his understanding of a society that rejects him from its public sphere. The no-spolier summary highlights a man travelling to find himself and a mental battle of what is social right and what you feel.

After reading this book I read up on the author, James Baldwin, a man who emigrated to Europe and knew that racism meant he would never be an author. He concealed his sexuality as he thought that too would add to the limits put on him and his abilities in society. Much like today James Baldwin, and his characters, battle with being made to feel alone and worthless by the majority of the society he associates with.

Considering this book has no black characters I was surprised to see it on the list of selected books. But after reading it (which if you are interested I strongly suggest) it says more about the racist and prejudice white culture without needing the book to be centrally about race and sexuality. Reading this taught me a lot about the society we used to live in and how it hasn’t really changed in 64 years. And that says enough.

If you have read the book and want to read some more of what has been written about it take a look at this article on The Guardian website.

Other Events to Look For

If you are interested in other BHM events or events throughout the rest of the year here is a couple I have found so you can keep getting more and more educated in something that will continue to be important after October is over.

Black History Month – Chat with Sue Liburd (Wednesday 28th October)

The BAME Committee are hosting a discussion with Sue Liburd, a recognised award-winning businesswoman and an inspirational speaker. She will be asking pre-submitted questions so make sure to DM the Lincoln SU or the BAME committee if you want a specific question asked. It will be streamed live so if you are interested click here.

Black History Month – Sip and Paint (Thursday 29th October)

If you are creative then this is for you. A time to paint whatever you want with a group of people all online. – To book head to the Lincoln SU website.

Black History Month – Cinema Screening of ‘Us’ (Saturday 31st October)

What better way to spend Halloween than watching a movie produced by the Academy Award winning Jordan Peele starring Black leads, Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke with the BAME committee at the Engine Shed. To book click this link: https://lincolnsu.com/events/id/10706-bhm-screening-of-us.

Black Feminist Society

A new society has been set up that is centred around empowerment, growth and support for women and their allies. They exclude no one and are known for being such a safe space.

Stay educated and think to the future of Black History Months for years to come.