In its 35th year, Black History Month has been a way to reflect on the Afro-Caribbean communities in the United Kingdom, their achievements, struggles and forms of activism in combating racism. 

Many argue that the idea of Black History Month neglects the importance of integrating holistic education, awareness and concrete changes in the system year-round. It has, however, remained to be a platform for such awareness with events, performances, exhibitions, film screenings, and publications such as the Black History Month Magazine aiming to create more visibility. 

Despite its deep roots in UK culture, Black History Month comes at a time when there is still much work to be done. Last month, Chris Kaba was killed in London by Metropolitan Police with protests in cities across the United Kingdom following, as part of National Day of Action organised by the Justice for Chris Kaba Campaign. 

Kaba’s family are still looking for answers, as a homicide investigation is ongoing but could last between six and nine months. The Kaba family along with activists successfully pushed for the investigation and the suspension of the officer responsible. Nevertheless, the suspension came only about a week after his death, and the family’s lawyer recently said in a statement that, Six to nine months for this investigation is unacceptably long and lacks urgency…It indicates insufficient resources to do the job.”

Kaba, a 24 year-old musician and father-to-be, was driving in Streatham on September 5 in a car that may have been linked to a firearms incident, but the police admitted that he was not a suspect. The investigation will also be identifying if the single shot to the head by the police officer was race-motivated. The family still faces a long road ahead to seeing justice, as they are gathering funds to support the Justice for Chris Kaba Campaign and his family.

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IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Hesther Ng | Vigil for Chris Kaba held outside New Scotland Yard, London. 17 September, 2022.
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IMAGO / aal.photo / Joao Pereira | Multiple groups including BLM and SWP gather in front of New Scotland Yard to protest the killing of the unarmed Chris Kaba by a police officer. 17 September, 2022.

This year for Black History Month  events, exhibitions such as ‘Black History Through Time’ at the Bank of England Museum examining the Bank’s links to slavery, markets and career fairs took place, along with film screenings and festivals including the Windrush Caribbean Film Festival

Although UK Black History Month is winding down, activism is not, as the movement combating systemic racism in the UK has spanned over generations. Deep in our archives and into recent events, IMAGO looks at moments that have contributed to Black History in the United Kingdom: Recent protests, the symbolic and historic Notting Hill Carnival and its roots in activism, the 1981 Brixton Riots and its roots in police brutality in the UK, and the Windrush scandal and its roots in systemic racism.

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IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Tayfun Salci | Vigil for Sasha Johnson who was shot in London and remains in critical condition -- the culprit has yet to be found as all charges were dropped back in March. 24 May, 2021.
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IMAGO / Zuma Press / Wiktor Szymanowicz | A group of protesters mark the first official Windrush Day by dropping banners from Westminster Bridge with a message demanding justice for members of the Windrush Generation who faced racial targeting, detention and deportation in what was known as the Windrush scandal. 22 June, 2019.
The Justice for Chris Kaba Campaign and UK Black History Month.
IMAGO / Travel-Stock-Image | Notting Hill Carnival, 1995.
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IMAGO / United Archives International | Notting Hill Carnival London 1978, clashes with police.
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IMAGO / Zuma/Keystone | Mobs of rioting youths clashed with the police during the Notting Hill Carnival. Stewards help Mr. Ahmed Harem from the crowd after he had been stabbed near Westway, Notting Hill. 8 August, 1977.
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IMAGO / Zuma/Keystone | The annual West Indian Carnival through the streets of Notting Hill, in London. 8 August, 1980.
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IMAGO / Zuma/Keystone | Aftermath of the Brixton Riots where violent clashes led to injuries, damages and arrests. 4 April, 1981.
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IMAGO / Zuma/Keystone | Brixton Riots, where violent police search and seizure measures led to clashes led to injuries, damages and arrests. 4 April, 1981.
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IMAGO / Zuma/Keystone | Portrait of Kelso Benjamin Cochrane who was stabbed to death in Kensington by a white mob. 5 May, 1959.
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IMAGO / Parsons Media | Million People Movement March. 30 August, 2020.
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IMAGO / Zuma Press / Alex Cavendish | Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton attends a Black Lives Matter protest march going through Regent Street in London. 21 June, 2020.
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IMAGO / Cover Images | Marcus Rashford of England takes the knee before the International Friendly between England and Romania. He along with Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka became subject of racist abuse following the penalty shoot out in the Euro final. 6 June, 2021.
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IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Thabo Jaiyesimi | Sasha Johnson, who is still in critical condition after a shooting in 2021, was the Co-organiser of the Million People March. Black Lives Matter activist takes part during the demonstration. 30 August, 2020.
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IMAGO / ZUMA Wire | The Windrush generation solidarity protest gathered around 200 people at the Churchill Statue in Parliament Square, demanding justice for members of the Windrush Generation who faced racial targeting, detention and deportation in what was known as the Windrush scandal. 18 April, 2018.
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IMAGO / NurPhoto | Labour Party MP Diane Abbott joins people taking the knee outside Downing Street in solidarity with England team football players who faced racism after the Euro finals. 17 July, 2021.
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IMAGO / Zuma Press / Alex Cavendish | Protester hold signs reading Solidarity with the Windrush generation during a protest in support of the Windrush generation in London, United Kingdom. 5 May, 2018.
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IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Thomas Krych | Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrated in central London, rallying for justice for Chris Kaba, a 24 year old black man who was fatally shot by the police in South London. 10 September, 2022.
 Article and image selections by Sofia Bergmann.