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Black History Lewisham 365

Find out about our year-round commitment to supporting Lewisham's Black communities through our Black History Lewisham 365 programme.

What is Black History Lewisham 365?

While it’s important we acknowledge the national Black History Month campaign each October, in Lewisham we believe in action 365 days a year. We were proud to champion Black creators and trailblazers as part of our We Are Lewisham programme. We are also driving conversations to help us better understand how we can support our Black communities - from tackling healthcare inequalities, to addressing disparities among our high street businesses, to eliminating inequalities in education. And that’s just the start.

Black History Lewisham 365 is our commitment to offering a platform for Black voices and understanding Black lived experiences 365 days per year.

Windrush 75

Thursday 22 June marked 75 years since 500 passengers from the Caribbean arrived at Tilbury Docks on the HMT Empire Windrush. They were the first of many

invited to relocate to Britain by successive governments to address labour shortages between 1948 and 1971. Many made their home in Lewisham which today has one of the largest African Caribbean communities in the UK. In June 2023, we paid tribute to their incredible contributions not just in our borough but to every aspect of modern British life.

Find more information on our Windrush 75 programme.

Black History Month 

The theme for Black History Month 2023 is Celebrating Our Sisters. We are joining together with partners and local community groups to offer a broad programme of events celebrating the history, achievements and contributions of the borough’s African Caribbean communities this October and beyond - read on for full details.

Community-led events

#ADAPT Black History Harvest

Sunday 1 October, 11.30am - 3pm | Coco Collective- Ital Community Gardens, SE6 3SE | Free

Following the success of last year's Black History Harvest comes a programme for the younger generations. Expect food growing workshop for children and young people, discussions on adapting to climate change, harvesting crops and talking through tropical foods from the diaspora. Entry is via the black gate next to 75 Firhill Road.

Book your free ticket for #ADAPT Black History Harvest.

Organisation: Coco Collective Community Hub

75 Years and Counting

Thursday 5 October, 11.30am - 2.30pm | Honor Oak Community Centre, SE4 2JD | £3

This intimate exhibition will comprise shared experiences of the Windrush and NHS – both of which turned 75 this year – from members of the Honor Oak Community Association Over-55s group and the wider 60 Up group. It will include a cookery demonstration, light refreshments, limber up/dance session and a self-care workshop.

To book, email info@60up.org.uk or call 020 3667 3704.

Organisation: 60 Up CIC

Gallery In The Air

Saturday 7/ 14/ 21/ 28 October | Deptford Market Yard, SE8 | Free

A fantastic series of free, open-air exhibitions giving a platform to local young, black artists. Taking place each Saturday throughout October from 10am – 4pm in Deptford Market Yard. There will also be an indoor space showcasing and celebrating the rich heritage and history of Britain’s black communities – from miners to dockworkers, from Britain’s Black Panthers to the roots of the Notting Hill Carnival.

Organisation: Lewisham African Initiative Development (LAID)

Celebrating Our Sisters: Black Female Artists Honouring Black History Month

Monday 16 – Sunday 22 October | Pop Up At Brockley, 16-18 Brockley Cross, SE4 | Free

A curated collection celebrating black sisterhood. Enjoy paintings, photography, sculpture and multimedia installations created exclusively by black female artists which pays tribute to the collective experiences of black women. This is an inclusive space that uplifts, inspires, and acknowledges the invaluable contributions black women have made in the borough, the UK and beyond. Opens Monday 16 October at 6pm.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-4pm

Organisation: Lewisham Art House

Black Book Festival 2023

Saturday 21 October, 11am – 7pm | Goldsmiths, University of London, SE14 6NW | Free

This grassroots festival will showcase the Black community’s worldwide contribution to literature and books. Visitors can browse 30 stalls which showcase African-Caribbean books. It includes opportunities to hear from new and exciting Black authors, family sessions and workshops for budding writers, publishers and those who would like to understand more about the global book industry.

This event is free attend but there is a cost for some of the seminars – please book ahead.

Organisation: Ebony Education CIC

Holbeach Black History Month Celebration Day

Saturday 21 October | Holbeach Primary School, SE6 4TP | Free

Africa has provided a rich tapestry of art and culture. This Black History Month (BHM) Holbeach Primary – a diverse school, in a diverse borough – would like to celebrate African culture through interactive workshops in storytelling, drumming, dancing and art. The celebration will be open to 457 students and their family and friends.

Organisation: Friends of Holbeach

Phoenix Black History Month

Tuesday 24 October | The Green Man, 335 Bromley Road, SE6 2RP | Free

The event will include talks, arts and craft activities, a health and being zone, a interactive quiz game on Windrush history both locally and nationally. Short film screenings, information stalls, food and refreshments will also be available.

Organisation: Phoenix Community Housing

Sanctuary Salon

Saturday 28 October, 1pm-3.00pm | Lewisham Shopping Centre, SE13 7HB | Free

South East Salon celebrates our sisters and Black voices of Lewisham through reflection, healing and collective action. Gather at CommUNITY Hub Space in Lewisham Shopping Centre (Unit 17) for a conversation with Stella Headley and other Black community leaders. Share your own stories about Black Lewisham and bring non-perishable donations for those in need.

Book your free space through Eventbrite.

Organisation: Rastafari Movement UK; South East Salon

Bring Me Sunshine Celebrates Our Sisters

Saturday 28 October, 11am-3pm | Brownhill Baptist Church, SE6 1AU | Free

A celebration for local elders honouring Black contributions to the borough and beyond. Expect R&B line dancing, a local steel band, a photography exhibition an opportunity for young and old from Bring Me Sunshine and Goldsmiths dance academy to perform a dance and song. There will be a Caribbean lunch and refreshments organised by the Brownhill Baptist church community sourced from local vendors. This is a free event, for people over 60.

Email Lesley Allen to reserve your place at Bring Me Sunshine Celebrates Our Sisters.

Organisation: Bring Me Sunshine/ Lewisham Churches Care

Pioneers and Places ‘23

Moonshot Centre, New Cross | Time and date tba

Head to the Moonshot Centre for this brilliant interactive heritage exhibition which weaves archive film, images, costumes and ephemera, to celebrate the culture and share the history of African, Caribbean and diaspora communities in the UK.

Organisation: IRIE! Dance Theatre

Library events

Half A History: Heroes & Heroines, Past & Present

Saturday 14 October, 2pm | Catford Library | 23-24 Winslade Way, SE6 4JU | Free

Join author, librarian and creative Jody Burton for an afternoon of history as she talks about notable black women in London's history.

Book your free ticket to Half A History.

Beyond Windrush: Tracing African and Caribbean Ancestry with Paul Crooks

Tuesday 17 October, 6.30 – 8pm | Catford Library | 23-24 Winslade Way, SE6 4JU | Free

Paul Crooks, a Genealogy Specialist and Black history speaker, will discuss tracing Black British ancestry and how he overcame specific barriers in family history research in this masterclass.

Book your free slot at Beyond Windrush: Tracing African and Caribbean Ancestry.

Heritage Talk with Tamara Brown

Thursday 19 October, 6.30pm | Manor House Library | 34 Old Rd, SE13 5SY | Free

Tamara Brown will give a talk based on her dissertation, exploring Windrush and communism.

Book the Heritage Talk with Tamara Brown.

Black History Family Workshop

Tuesday 24 October, 2-3pm | Catford Library | 23-24 Winslade Way, SE6 4JU | Free

A free family workshop for children aged 4 to 11 and their families which focuses on the positive historical achievements and contributions of Black people in Britain. It will include a range of resources and activities, including recommended books and videos.

Book the Black History Family Workshop

Isis Meets Isis

Saturday 28 October, 2-4pm | Catford Library | 23-24 Winslade Way, SE6 4JU | Free

Isis Damali is a young girl from Lewisham who wrote this book about her name and her identity. This year we are celebrating sisterhood and Isis can share her story, follows by a craft.

Black Led Business Forum – BHM Event

Tuesday 31 October, 1-9pm | Deptford Lounge | 9 Giffin St, SE8 4RJ | Free

This event this will be a celebration of Black entrepreneurship and a chance to connect with local businesses and business support, wherever you are on your business journey.

Book your place at the Black-led business Forum's BHM event.

Empire Soldiers - VR Experience

Multiple dates and locations – options available when booking

Empire Soldiers is a pair of VR films that pays tribute to the forgotten contribution of South Asian and Caribbean soldiers in World War One and beyond

Book the Empire Soldiers VR Experience.

Locker Room: Rumble in the Jungle - VR Experience

Multiple dates and locations – options available when booking

Locker Room invites you to become Muhammad Ali moments before the biggest fight of his life. Through this VR experience, enter the most sacred space in all of sports, the Locker Room, as Ali and his cornerman run drills and remember the journey that brought them to this pivotal moment

Book Locker Room VR Experience.

Broadway Theatre events

Angie Le Mar - The Final Bow

Sunday 1 October | Tickets from £25

Brace yourselves for the most unforgettable night of the year! Get ready to be dazzled by the one and only Angie Le Mar in her Final Bow, and trust us, you won't want to miss a single moment of this ground-breaking event!

Book tickets for Angie Le Mar - The Final Bow.

Credit Crunch Comedy

Saturday 7 October | Tickets from £15

The popular comedy show returns for one night with some of the biggest comedians in the UK hitting the stage for a belly busting night of hilarious comedy. More funny for your money.

Book tickets for Credit Crunch Comedy.

We Are Windrush

Saturday 21 October | Tickets from £20

Reggae Choir presents We Are Windrush, a captivating and soul-stirring event, honouring the rich cultural heritage and profound contributions of the Windrush Generation.

Book tickets for We Are Windrush.

Oliver Samuels in Teet an Tung

Sunday 22 October | Tickets from £37.50

Written and starring the legendary Oliver Samuels the comedy play Teet an Tung is chock full of spicy yard vibe flavors and heats up like a welcome Caribbean sunshine, delivering more laughs per minute than anything you’ve ever seen.

Book tickets for Teet an Tung.

The Front Room: A Windrush Legend

Saturday 28 October | Tickets from £27.50

It's Sunday afternoon. Aunty Viv and family are coming over so Mother opens The Front Room, turns the Bluespot Gram on, dusts the glass fish and hoovers the Axminster carpet while the Guinness punch is made. Experience this very funny Sunday afternoon in the Windrush Front Room.

Buy tickets for The Front Room.