Celebrating BAME community successes

This pages focusses on Black British history, sharing with you some of the fantastic contributions that Black Britons have made locally and nationally.

BHM is held to highlight and celebrate the achievements and contributions of the black community in the UK. Throughout history, black people have made huge contributions to society in the fields of art, music, science, literature, medicine, transport and many more areas.

Defence

Since World War One black people have fought for Britain, with many of these paying the ultimate price. One such person was Walter Tull, a highly decorated solider, who died on the battle field at a time when there was a law that excluded ‘Mulattos’ from holding command.

Today, over 6,000 Black Britons continue to defend the nation in the UK Armed Forces. One of these is Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry. In 2005, Beharry was formally awarded the Victoria Cross by The Queen, the highest military decoration for valour, for saving members of his unit during ambushes in Iraq. At the time he was the first living recipient of the VC in over 30 years.

Economy

Following the Second World War and The Windrush Generation of 1948, it was people of colour that kept the nation moving and this can still be seen today on London’s transport.

Black people are still pivotal in our domestic and hospitality industries too. In 2006 the then Labour Government claimed that the economic benefit gained from migrants, many of these black, was £6 billion.

Today, Britain has the world’s fifth-biggest economy – no mean feat for a small island nation. And, it is black people and the legacy of immigration that have helped the country to achieve this successful economic status.

Health

One of the biggest areas in which black people have contributed to the UK is through its health service. There is a long list of health professionals who have cared for the sick and injured, and the late Mary Seacole is one such person. Originally born in Jamaica, she set up the “British Hotel” during the Crimean War, providing care for wounded servicemen on the battlefield.

Over 150 years later, and the contribution of black people our health service would struggle to survive. 20% of the NHS workforce is from a BAME background and 41% of doctors working in the NHS are from a BAME background.

Sports

Black Britons have always been active in sports, and have competed at the top of their game in many disciplines. Without the contribution of the likes of Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis, Britain would not have achieved its greatest athletic success during the 2012 Olympics, achieving a record 29 gold medals.

Today Black Britons continue to make the UK a great sporting nation.

Politics

There are currently  63  black and minority ethnic MPs  elected to the British Parliament. This is a huge step forward, and something of which we can all be proud. It follows a century-long tradition of black representation within our political system. In 1906, John Archer was the first black politician to be elected to public office as a councillor in Battersea, and in 1913 became Mayor of London.

Page updated: 24/09/2021 Page updated by: Gloucestershire County Council

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