BLACK HISTORY MONTH
During Black History Month, Canadians celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous nation it is today.
Check out our Black History Month Events page for happenings near you!
Speakers for Black History Month Events
Do you have need of a speaker for Black History Month events, workshops or conferences? The CCAWR can suggest and provide speakers on the themes of Diversity, Inclusion, Black Canadians and similar themes. You can contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (519.997.2780) to learn more!
Black History in Canada
People of African descent have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity since the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter, whose presence in Canada dates back to the early 1600s.
The role of Blacks in Canada has not always been viewed as a key feature in Canada’s historic landscape. There is little mention that some of the Loyalists who came here after the American Revolution and settled in the Maritimes were Blacks, or of the many sacrifices made in wartime by Black Canadian soldiers as far back as the War of 1812.
Few Canadians are aware of the fact that African people were once enslaved in the territory that is now Canada, or of how those who fought enslavement helped to lay the foundation of Canada’s diverse and inclusive society.
Black History Month is a time to learn more about these Canadian stories and the many other important contributions of Black Canadians to the settlement, growth and development of Canada, and about the diversity of Black communities in Canada and their importance to the history of this country.
Recognizing Black History Month
The commemoration of Black History Month dates back to 1926, when Harvard-educated African American historian Carter G. Woodson proposed setting aside a time devoted to honour the accomplishments of African Americans and to heighten awareness of Black history in the United States. This led to the establishment of Negro History Week in 1926. Celebrations of Black history began in Canada also shortly thereafter. During the early 1970s, the week became known as Black History Week. It was expanded into Black History Month in 1976.
In December 1995, the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month in Canada following a motion introduced by the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine. The motion was carried unanimously by the House of Commons.
In February 2008, Senator Donald Oliver, the first Black man appointed to the Senate, introduced the Motion to Recognize Contributions of Black Canadians and February as Black History Month. It received unanimous approval and was adopted on March 4, 2008. The adoption of this motion completed Canada’s parliamentary position on Black History Month.
The CCAWR and Black History Month
The CCAWR joins the Government of Canada in celebrating the lives and accomplishments of Black Canadians. In February of each year, the organization sponsors and supports events throughout the region, including concerts, theatrical events, church services, conferences and discussions. We also partner with other local organizations in support of their Black History Month activities.
Read on to discover some of the exciting events planned for February 2017, and to browse pictures of past events!
ONCE ON THIS ISLAND (2007):
Once On This Island is a Caribbean version of Hans Christian Anderson’s tale “The Little Mermaid”. The story takes place on a Caribbean Island divided by social prejudice. It is a colourful tale of love, loss and redemption.
BUBBLING BROWN SUGAR (2008):
Bubbling Brown Sugar tells the story of Harlem in the Golden Years of the 1920’s. Taking many of the great songs of the era, the writer has woven an exciting tale of a time gone by. It was the hey day of Harlem’s nightclubs, the extravagant Cotton Club, Small’s Paradise and the Savoy Ballroom. This musical started a whole wave of Broadway musicals by and about Black composers.
THE GENERATIONS OF GOSPEL (2010):
CCAWR and Touch of Soul presented “The Generations of Gospel Music”, a concert of the testament of time. This Gospel Concert is the brainchild of Kitchener’s Rufus John, who is reaching out to young people through music, encouraging them to give back. The fifteen-member gospel choir leads the audience through “a history of black Americans, from slavery in the cotton fields, through the civil rights period and its battle against segregation to contemporary gospel melodies”.
LOUISE BENNETT COVERLEY (?):
Louise Bennett spoke at a side-splitting CCAWR fundraiser in Waterloo.
JAMAICA FAREWELL (2012/2013):
Discover a different type of immigrant adventure in Jamaica Farewell-The Play as Debra Ehrhardthustles her way into America with a duffel bag full of cash.
I NEED TO KNOW MY FATHER (???):
In this play, I Need To Know My Father the varied realities of life come up front and centre. Set in what could be ‘anywhere’ Jamaica, the story tells of a young girl who is the product of a shunned union who is determined to get answers to secrets held.
KARL SUBBAN (2014?):
THE HISTORY OF BLACK IMMIGRATION (2016):