October is Black History Month and, while Black history should be championed for more than just one month, boy, do we have a lot to celebrate here in Manchester. From activists paving the way, to artists, poets, nurses, and those we don’t necessarily see every day, but who put their all into working hard, the Black population of Manchester have made, and do still, make the city what it is. This year’s Black History Month theme, ‘Saluting our Sisters’, is dedicated to honouring the achievements of Black women.
Black History Month gives us the opportunity to thank all of these amazing people, celebrating the culture they continue to bring to Manchester and for the community to come together and recognise the impact Black culture and people have had on the wider community. There are plenty of events going on and ways to support Black-owned businesses in Manchester this Black History Month to embody all of this, spreading positivity, solidarity and education – so here’s our guide.
1. Heard Live for Black History Month, Feel Good Club – Thursday 5 October
Join the ever-welcoming Feel Good Club Manchester for an inclusive event of true spoken storytelling this Black History Month. The evening will give a platform to captivating true stories and lived experiences – as well as enjoying a curated line up of storytellers, there will be a couple of spaces open for budding storytellers. If you decide to tell a story and the amazing audience will make you feel right at home, so show up with an idea for a story or just sit back to listen – there is no pressure to get behind the mic.
The event is as much about the joy of hearing the voices of others, of finding there’s a story in each person, and coming to connect and learn. You can find tickets and more information here.
📍Feel Good Club, 26-28 Hilton Street, Manchester M1 2EH.
2. COBO: Comedy Shutdown Black History Month Special, Frog and Bucket Comedy Club – Sunday 8 October
Beloved Manchester comedy club, Frog and Bucket, will host a comedy night that is not only packed to the brim with jokes but also celebrates the vast array of comedic talent throughout Black History Month. COBO prides itself on championing comedians who appeal to comedy-lovers of all backgrounds, and the Black History Month special will feature comedians such as Michelle de Swarte, Metrik, Kat B and Loyiso Gola. You can find tickets here.
📍Frog and Bucket Comedy Club, 102 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LJ.
3. Black Victorians in Leigh and Wigan, Leigh Town Hall – Saturday 14 October
Celebrate the stories of locals lives with this local history talk by Archives: Wigan & Leigh and author and historian Brian Joyce. Brian will start by examining some of the advantages and pitfalls of various sources for Black history, going on to look at examples of the historical Black presence in the Wigan and Leigh areas. These will include visiting clergy and entertainers as well as speakers in the anti-slavery campaign before the American Civil War.
Most importantly, he will examine some of the Black people who were resident in Leigh and Wigan during the Victorian period. This is a great opportunity to explore some local history and how Black history has materialised in this area of Greater Manchester. Tickets are free, but you can reserve a spot here.
📍Leigh Town Hall, Market Street, Leigh WN7 1D.
4. Miss Diagnosis Lunch and Learn – Black Women’s Healthcare Discussion, Stockport – Saturday 14 October
Carol Ann Whitehead will be bringing back #MissDiagnosis and hosting a special #BHM ‘Miss Diagnosis Lunch and Learn’ a panel discussion about Black Women’s health and incorrect diagnosis from maternal care to breast cancer. The most common areas of misdiagnosis in women are heart attacks, fibromyalgia, strokes, endometriosis, lupus and MS.
After the discussion there will be a chance to network with Afrobeats and enjoy some African Caribbean food – all are welcome. You can find tickets here.
📍The Space, 28 Petersgate, Stockport, SK1 1HD.
5. International Anti-Slavery Day – Expert Manchester Tour – Wednesday 18 October
Manchester might have prospered from the horrors of slavery for much of the 18th century, but the growing town was soon leading the campaign for its abolition – this and much more is revealed on the Expert Manchester Tour run by history-focused writer, public speaker and tour guide, Ed Glinert, with International Anti-Slavery Day making it even more poignant.
Existing signs of slavery (and the abolition of it), Black history and nods to the past all over Manchester are the order of the day, with Ed having an encyclopaedic knowledge on the topic. The recent ‘discovery’ of slave ships in many of the UK’s borough crests, including Manchester, is something that Ed has been shedding light on for years, so you can be sure you’ll gain invaluable, nuanced takes, revolving around Black History Month. Places are free, but you can book your spot here – the tour begins at Manchester Victoria Station.
📍Victoria Station wall map, Victoria Station Approach, Manchester M3 1WY.
6. Black History Month Archive Open Day, People’s History Museum – Saturday 21 October
Delve into PHM’s incredible archive collection to celebrate Black History Month. The museum’s archive focuses on labour history, and the related movements, campaigns, and organisations that form part of that history – of which Black people have been an integral part. There’s so much to discover when it comes to Black history, including:
- The Thomas Bangbala collection, sharing Bangbala’s incredible work as a political activist and trade unionist campaigning for Black people’s rights
- The book of Lord Bryon’s poetry presented to Black Chartist convention delegate William Cuffay in 1849
- Labour Party archive material concerning race relations and immigration, particularly through the 1950s to 1970s, and items from the party’s Black Sections and Race Action Group
- Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) material including from the CPGB National Race Relations Committee
- Pamphlets and leaflets on anti-colonialism, anti-‘racialism’ and anti-apartheid
PHM welcomes visitors anytime on the day, and entry is free with registration open here.
📍People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3ER.
7. Zebra Tribe Black Indie Comic Festival, Manchester Central Library – Saturday 21 October
Renowned comic book writers and illustrators will assemble for a day of interactive workshops, motivational talks, mentoring sessions, and comic book signings. Special guests include Corey Brotherson – co-writer of the world’s first Windrush comic and video game: Windrush Tales – and New York film producer, Jamal Blair.
The festival will spotlight empowering stories that embrace diversity and acknowledge Black history, and comic fans of all ages can drop into the free event, or book onto specific workshops here.
📍Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD.
8. Island Movements: An epic tale of the lives of a family from the Windrush generation, Oldham Library – Tuesday 24 October
Island Movements is a short ballet that tells the story of Windrush and explores the impact of this generation’s experiences on their families, communities and society. Beginning with a young Caribbean soldier in WW2 Britain, this moving tale follows him and his family through their life in the UK up to the current Windrush scandal. The show will then be followed by a Q&A with the dancers and creators, and is part of a UK library tour, visiting Oldham Library on 24 October. You can find tickets here.
📍Oldham Library & Lifelong Learning Centre, Greaves Street, Oldham OL1 1AL.
9. Black History Month (A Celebration of African and Caribbean Culture), Manchester Royal Infirmary – Friday 27 October
This celebration will consist of African and Caribbean art, histories, cuisine, dance, music, fashion show and exhibition, providing an excellent opportunity to network, connect with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff members from all across the Manchester Foundation Trust BAME Network, plus refreshments and catering. If you have traditional attire of any African or Caribbean culture and can showcase it, feel free to get in touch with the Trust. Tickets to the event are free, and you can book a spot here.
📍Post Graduate Centre, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Oxford Road Campus, Manchester M13 9WL.
10. Ganja & Hess: Intro and Film, Portico Library – Tuesday 31 October
Celebrate Halloween with a blaxploitation vampire story as part of Portico Library’s Black History Month and horror season. As the nights draw and daylight gets shorter, the Portico Library is embracing horror and exploring what makes us shiver. Starting with Black History Month, Erica Tucker has curated and will introduce two classic films that explore African American identity, screened in the intimate space of the Reading Room for a very special evening.
After being stabbed with an ancient, germ-infested knife, a doctor’s assistant finds himself with an insatiable desire for blood. Starring Duane Jones and Marlene Clark and written and directed by Bill Gunn, Ganja & Hess is a vampire story exploring the taste for power, love and identity. Get your free tickets here.
📍The Portico Library, 57 Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3HY.