Black History Month - The Power of Diverse Storytelling

6 October 2021

When Black History Month was established in the United States, over a century ago, it was intended as a way to celebrate and give national recognition to black stories and perspectives.

Its American founder, author, journalist, and historian Carter G. Woodson believed that acknowledgment and understanding of these stories were essential in the journey to an equal and inclusive society. That remains true in 2021!

At Kingsley Napley, we also believe in the power of diverse and representative stories and we have found some wonderful and effective ways to share them that you might like to try too.

KN Diversity Children’s Book Drive

Earlier this year we created a campaign through JustGiving to raise money to buy representative and inclusive children’s books for local primary schools.

We hope that through these stories children can understand and develop empathy for people with different lives and experiences, and also benefit from positive role models that inspire and empower.

Our campaign was supported by Round Table Books, an award-winning children's bookshop in the heart of Brixton, London, that that only sells diverse children's books. Round Table helped us source and deliver almost £3,000 worth of books to our schools. From the feedback we received from schools, Hair Love seemed to be a particular favourite.








REACH Book Club

Our REACH group (Race, Ethnicity And Cultural Heritage) has held a regular book club for several years now where people across the firm, from all backgrounds, can come together to enjoy, and learn from, historical and modern stories from a rich selection of diverse authors.  

Sometimes the stories are poignant, sometimes funny, sometimes challenging. But all of them provide a welcomed opportunity for us to get to know each other better, to explore the impact of race and cultural heritage in a safe space, and to develop a deeper understanding and respect for different lived experiences.

Some of our most recommended reads include:

Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging, by Afua Hirsch

“Afua Hirsch is British. Her parents are British. She was raised, educated and socialised in Britain. Her partner, daughter, sister and the vast majority of her friends are British. So why is her identity and sense of belonging a subject of debate? The reason is simply because of the colour of her skin.
Blending history, memoir and individual experiences, Afua Hirsch reveals the identity crisis at the heart of Britain today.”

Good Reads

The Lonely Londoners, by Sam Selvon

“A classic award-winning novel of immigrant life in London in the 1950s.
In the hopeful aftermath of war they flocked to the Mother Country — West Indians in search of a prosperous future in the ‘glitter-city’.
Instead, they have to face the harsh realities of living hand to mouth, of racism, of bone-chilling weather and bleak prospects. Yet friendships flourish among these Lonely Londoners and, in time, they learn to survive.”

Good Reads

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge

“Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism. It is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today.”

Good Reads

We are already looking forward to discussing our Black History month book club choice, The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett. The New York Times describes it as a “gorgeously written novel, an ambitious meditation on race and identity, [which] considers the divergent fates of twin sisters, born in the Jim Crow South, after one decides to pass for white.”

Even beyond Black History month we believe that books like these can provide an important way to connect, to grow and to learn.

Do not underestimate the power of diverse stories.

About the author 

Claire manages the firm's research resources and knowledge sharing services.  Claire and her team work closely with our legal teams, and with other business support teams, to ensure the firm has access to timely and accurate information.

She is an active member of our REACH (Race, Ethnicity, And Cultural Heritage) group. Outside the firm Claire is a Council member for the British & Irish Association of Law Librarians.


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