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SBQ Feature - Mia

March 14th, 2024

Introducing Ms Mia Morris OBE - Seasoned UK Black Queen

Ms. Mia was born in the UK in the late 1950s and lived in Hackney for most of her youth. Now for people living in the UK, October is when we celebrate Black History Month, (BHM) and yes, we will all have views on BHM being a month long, but just think of the UK in the 1980s, the fact that the BHM idea was conceived and brought into being by Mia along with others is in and of itself worth celebrating.  

Mia started off professionally as a teacher and has utilised her skills from the world of teaching in all that she has pursued since. She knows that to make things happen in Black communities in the UK, as we say, it’s not just what you know but who you know. And, Ms Mia knows folks, she is incredibly well connected, those she has engaged in thinking, discussing and co-creating with include: Roll out the red carpet…the late Bernie Grant, Herman Ousley, Arifa Lee, Ros Howells, Sybel Phoenix, Constance Briscoe, Immacule Ilibazia, The late, Professor Dr Benjamin Zephaniah, Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, Professor Lez Henry, Tony Warner, Diane Abbott MP, Dr Alex Wheatle, Yvonne Brewster Malorie Blackman, Terry Jervis,  Dr Lauren Roche, and Len Garrison to name but a few. We know that in true teacher style Ms Mia would say to anyone reading this, 

Quotes from project contributors

“If there was a name on that list that you didn’t know, go look them up and share what you learnt about the person with at least two other people. Those names are all important to our Black British history.”

— Ms Mia Morris

Speaking about Black history, get yourself comfy let Ms Mia share a little of her story with you.  

“So, I worked in the Greater London Council (GLC) back in the 80s with the ethnic minority unit which composed of Herman Ousley and Anson Wong, Parvinder Jeer, June Jovani, Shirley Andrews, Ade Adesebo was a person together with Ansell created Black History Month. Herman contacted me and said, look we've got this anti racism agenda we need to get going. GLC is coming to an end. Would you do the community dialogue? He said Ade’s got this project, Black History Month, would you try and get people to sign our race equality charter to say that they will do what they can to ensure that Black History Month is held in October? So, I was there. I'm one of them, it had several midwives. Linda Bellos worked for the London Strategic Policy Unit carried on the work of the GLC, so the genesis of it started at the GLC and continued at the London Strategic Policy Unit. I’m responsible for creating the Black History Month website and I have Eric and Jessica Huntley to thank. Jessica said Mia, why don't you set up a website, so said, so done.”  

Don’t you like how she said it, ‘so said, so done,’ making it sound as though she spoke it into being, can you imagine the work that went into making that happen over 40 years ago? And as if that wouldn’t have been accomplishment enough, Ms Mia keeps going. Currently, she works on a mental health project called Sound Mines. She looks after a peer support project called Canerows which is a lived experience project where volunteers amongst other things, visit people who are unwell and share their mental health recovery and journey. She is certainly a lady with her hands full because she also runs online webinars in conversations with notable people from the Black Community. Doesn’t that list seem like a bucket full? Well not for Mia, in her spare time, she edits the biannual Black History Maker digital magazine.  

When we dug a little deeper under the surface, we found that Mia has been decorated with well-deserved accolades over the decades, they include:  


  • Black History Foundation Award for the newspaper Black History 365

  • Home Office Race Equality Award in recognition of support and service to the Home Office Black and Minority Ethnic Group “The Network.”


  • OBE Queen’s birthday honours list for services to Black Heritage and the community of South London.

  • Patron for Sound Minds


  • In the Hall of Fame for work in Mental Health awarded by the Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network.

With such accomplishments under her belt for her decades of activism, we wondered what her views were on retirement, she isn’t too far off the retirement age (Shhhhh). Here is what she said:  


“I’m following in my auntie's footsteps she was the first black woman working in the Stock Exchange and she was there for 27 years. And she's done 25 years at Costco’s. She's now 77 and she says, girl don’t retire just reform.”  


The truth is, she was born a reformer with activism, education and engagement running through her veins.  So, one more question for Ms Mia OBE, how is it that we are just getting to know you, why have you been such a secret? To which she responds:   

“I am one of Britain’s best kept secrets 'cause I just get on with it. I'm not one of these black people doing things and beating my chest saying look at me, look at me, look what I've done. I just get on with it. The road may appear difficult and treacherous, but I will continue to work outside of the box and forge for changes for the better. It was the late, great Dr Maya Angelou who I had the pleasure of working with who said. 'there's no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you. Long may I continue to share our stories and continue to shed light on our histories which is in effect all of our histories.”  

Don’t tell her the secret is out, join us in giving due honour to Ms Mia Morris, OBE, activist, educator, visionary and in her own words, ‘a proper fixer.’  

This feature is part of the Seasoned UK Black Queens series celebrating Black women throughout March, a fantastic project led by Yvonne Christie. Read more here

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