This is Black History Month

The University's celebration of Black History Month opens today - Tuesday, 1 October - with events ranging from public lectures, concerts, film screenings and lectures.

The University has also announced that Bonnie Dean, Vice-Principal for Corporate Engagement and Innovation, is the University's new Race Equality Champion. Satnam Virdee, Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of the University's Centre for Research on Racism, Ethnicity and Nationalism (CRREN), and Ms Dean will co-chair the Racial Equality Group.

The Race Equality Group is looking for new staff members from the job families Research and Teaching, Operational and Technical and Related. If you are a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic member of staff and are keen to contribute to the race equality work within our campus, please get in touch via You will be asked to represent staff views, and contribute to discussions and plans relating to race equality. We request that you have the agreement of your line manager to participate.

One of the highlights in the forthcoming month is the James McCune Smith Lecture on 15 October at the Bute Hall. It will be delivered by Professor David Blight, the Sterling Professor of History, of African American Studies, and of American Studies, and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University.

David Blight’s recent Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Frederick Douglass sheds new light on the biography of one of the 19th century’s most famous men. Born into slavery, Douglass took his destiny into his own hands when he ran for freedom. Douglass wrested a new name, literacy and a new voice from the silences imposed by enslavement. As Blight shows in ‘Prophet of Freedom, Douglass’ words would shape the global movement to abolish slavery across the Americas and Europe. His voice offered not only the authentic slave narrative, but also a philosophical and intellectual buttress for the abolition movement, through his writing, debating and campaigning.

His friendship with James McCune Smith defined him - he called Smith “the single most important influence in his life”. Together, these two men together resisted the Fugitive Slave Law, lectured on abolition, and established the first national organisation for African-Americans. Plans were recently unveiled to name the University’s new learning and teaching hub after James McCune Smith. At his public lecture in Bute Hall, Professor Blight will explore a friendship which had tremendous impact on history.

There will be a documentary screening of "Scotland’s Hidden Shame" with Stephen Mullen, David Hayman and Graham Campbell at 5pm on 16 September —

The book launch of "Unsilencing the Past: The Haitian Revolution" will take place at 13.30 on 9 October.

For further events, please consult this Google calendar


First published: 1 October 2019