Black History Month: The words of 23 black activists from Martin Luther King to Maya Angelou

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Black History Month is an annual observance that originated in the US but is now officially recognised by governments in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK.

The month provides an opportunity for full recognition of the contributions and achievements of the UK’s black community.

On 25 September, prime minister Boris Johnson said that Black British people “continue to leave an indelible mark upon every sphere of life in Britain.

He continued: “As we celebrate throughout October, we not only look back with enormous gratitude to the African-Caribbean community for your huge contribution to Britain – we also look forward with great optimism for the future of our great country, and for the chance for us all to share in that bright future.”

The theme for this year’s Black History Month is “Proud To Be”. It encourages people of all ages to share what they are proud to be on social media and was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Demonstrations against police violence and racial injustice took place across the globe last year following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer.

On 25 June, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for second-degree murder.

Generation after generation, activists have sought to make a change and highlight the racial disparities and systemic racism that exists in society.

From abolitionist Harriet Tubman to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, there have been thousands of men and women who have fought against racial oppression over the years by providing an insight into the lived experiences of black people and calling on populations to be actively anti-racist in their attitudes.

Click through the gallery above to read some words on racial injustice from black activists throughout history.

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