Black History: stories of struggle and success

A banner reading 'Celebrating Black History Month in Newham'

October is Black History Month – the annual celebration of the diverse, creative and courageous contribution of people from Black British and Afro-Caribbean communities to the lives of everyone in Britain. 

By Newham Voices

Christina Ohuruogu holds a union jack flag in victory
“Christina Ohuruogu Silver medalist London 2012” by Kent Capture is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

In Newham more than 60,000 residents make up this community – around 18 percent of the population. The events highlighted in this edition of Newham Voices demonstrate how everyone benefits, whether in the arts, business, in the health service, in almost every corner of Newham life. 

But the community has suffered decades of discrimination. Many young Black people in particular have had to overcome the scourge of racism. 

Throughout the year we highlight injustice and the fight for equality but this month is a chance to celebrate. 

We focus particularly on the contribution of Black women in Newham in line with the national theme of Celebrating Our Sisters, putting a spotlight on the achievements and successes of Black women who are often forgotten heroines. 

The Newham programme launches on 2 October at Stratford Town Hall with a talk and discussion event with Newham-born Olympic, World and Commonwealth champion athlete Christine Ohuruogu MBE, pictured, who will talk about her career, inspirations, life and achievements. 

These include five World Championship medals, two Olympic medals, including a gold gained at the 2008 Beijing Games and she is the first British woman to win two World Championship titles and the first British athlete to win three global titles in a single event. 

DJ Linett Kamala will host the final event Celebrating Our Sisters concert on 27 October featuring rising star Mega and opening act Léa Mondo. 

We highlight many of the events during the month, many of which will take part in local libraries. 

These include a talk with the local author of Black, Brilliant and Dyslexic, Marcia Brissett-Bailey, Celebrating Black Women through Silhouette Painting, a workshop by local artist Antonietta Torsiello, Black Pound Market, Drumming for Wellbeing with IROKO Theatre Company and The New Black Film Collective Film Programme at Stratford East Picturehouse. 

Reporter Neandra Etienne reports on some of the brilliant women who are breaking boundaries and we have two young people on the verge of bright careers from our Youth Voices group who provide inspirational insights into the resilience, commitment and determination that helps young Black people to overcome the challenges they face. 

To book events, visit,,