Black History Month

Black History Month

“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better” – Martin Luther King Jr

 What is Black History Month?

October marks Black History Month in the UK. This month creates the opportunity to celebrate black achievement, to recognise and understand the impact of black heritage and culture across the UK and the rest of the world.
First introduced in the US in 1969, Black History Month was created by a number of Black educators and students at Kent State University. However, it wasn’t until 1987 that it was brought to the UK by Ghanaian-born, Akyaaba Addai Sebo after visiting America in the 1970s.

 2022: Black Health and Wealth
This year’s theme is ‘Black Health and Wealth’. Focusing on the recognition of achievements of Black health and wellness practitioners across the world. In light of this year’s theme we have chosen to focus on Dr Harold Moody, one of many inspirational black healthcare pioneers.

Moody arrived in London from his home country of Jamaica in 1904 with the hopes of studying medicine at King’s College London. In spite of successfully qualifying as a physician, Moody was continually denied the opportunity to work, with many matrons refusing to ‘have a coloured doctor working at the hospital’. In order to combat the racial prejudice that him and many others faced during this time, Moody decided to set up his own GP practice in 1913.

Motivated by this racial discrimination, Moody also set up ‘The League of Coloured Peoples’, an organisation that campaigned for racial equality in the workplace. Based in his home town of Peckham, this organisation grew to become the first influential African Caribbean Pressure group in Britain.  Moody fought for causes such as, employment rights for black seamen, fair pay for Trinidadian oil workers and aided the lifting of the implicit colour bar in the British Armed Forces. After Dr Moody passed away in 1947, a plaque was erected by the English Heritage in Peckham, at the house where he lived, worked and died. Dr Moody’s legacy has led him to be coined as ‘Britain’s Martin Luther King’.

 Why is Black History Month important in the recruitment industry?
Dr Moody’s campaigns and initiatives for black rights have set the standard in terms of lobbying for racial equality. The struggles he faced as a black man in the 1920s are a stark reminder that 100 years on the UK still has a long way to go until we can successfully achieve racial equality.
As recruiters we have a large part to play in ensuring all candidates are treated equally, paid fairly and represented effectively. A recent poll found that only 1 in 3 black candidates feel that recruitment agencies are fair; a statistic that all recruiters should strive to improve by creating a more transparent recruitment process. Black History Month offers us all an opportunity to reflect on statistics like these and work together to create a workplace that Moody would be proud of.

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