Each year Black History Month is celebrated with a Theme. BHMI recognised the importance of providing a theme to focus the attention of the public. The intention has never been to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public’s attention important developments that merit emphasis.

For those interested in the study of identity and ideology of Africa, an exploration of Africa-Irish Development Initiative, AIDI’s Black History theme is itself instructive. Over the years, the themes reflect changes in how people of African descent in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada joined by Ireland have viewed themselves, the influence of social movements on racial ideologies, and the aspirations of the black community. The changes notwithstanding, the theme list reveals is an overarching continuity in AIDI, our dedication to exploring historical issues of importance to people of Africa descent and race relations in Ireland and Europe at large.

We involve the active participation of members of the African community and/or People of African Descent at all stages of the Event (planning, development, implementation etc.), and with Black and Africa History Month we,

  • Celebrate and promote African culture and heritages.
  • Promote a positive image of People of African Descent’s socio-culture to the wider community.
  • Include and invite members of the wider community to the events.
  • Make the event be accessible to an open public audience where possible.

We chose October for reasons of tradition and reform. Zeph selected February to encompass the birthday of great African who played a prominent role in shaping black history in Ireland, namely, Olaudah Equiano and Frederick Douglass. Olaudah Equiano, whose birthday is the 16th October 1745 in Nsukka in the Igbo province in Nigeria, and the historic visit of Frederick Douglass to Ireland in 1845, hence, he arrived Dublin on the 31st August 1845.

In early October, Douglass and his companions set off for stays and lectures in Cork, Limerick, and Belfast, with briefs stops in Wexford, Waterford, and, as he recounted, “the hill of Howth to the Giant’s Causeway, and from the Giant’s Causeway to Cape Clear.”

More importantly, we chose them for reasons of tradition. The black community, along with other Republicans, had been celebrating these heroes. And since the late 1890s, black communities across the country of USA had been celebrating Douglass’. Well aware of the pre-existing celebrations, we have built Black History Month around traditional days of commemorating the black past. Zeph founder of AIDI is asking the public to extend their study of black history, not to create a new tradition. In doing so, he increased his chances for success.