BCBHAS Collage for events

Black History Month

 

It was in 1995 that Canada 1st celebrated Black History Month, following the initiative of the Honourable Jean Augustine, Canada’s first black Member of Parliament.

Black history organizations and educational resources   There are many organizations and educational resources devoted to the promotion and awareness of Black Canadian history.  This link will take you to provincial organizatons and other Canadian resources.

Key events in Black Canadian history   The first person of African Heritage to come to what is now Canada arrived some 400 years ago in 1604.  His name is Mathieu Da Costa who arrived with the french explorers Pierre Du Gua De Monts and Samuel de Champlain.

Notable people who have shaped Black Canadian history  Read their stories of courage and overcoming adversity.

Anniversaries of significance in Black Canadian history in 2017  These days and anniversaries focus on 2017 and recognize the important contributions of Black people in Canada and around the world.

 

Here’s the history on Black History Month ….

The precursor to Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be "Negro History Week."

At the time of Negro History Week's launch, Woodson contended that the teaching of black history was essential to ensure the physical and intellectual survival of the race within broader society:  "If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated …”

This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Frederick Douglas on February 14, Black communities had celebrated both dates together since the late 19th century.

The expansion of Black History Week to Black History Month was first proposed by the leaders of the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. The first celebration of the Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later, in February 1970.

Black History Month does have critics and has sparked debate about the continued usefulness and fairness of a designated month dedicated to the history of one race. Many people think that Black History Month furthers segregation, rather than distinction and should be integrated with the remainder of our collective histories.  

In any case, it was in 1976 as part of the United States Bicentennial, Black History Month was officially recognized by the U.S. government.

Black History Month was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in 1987.

It is now celebrated annually in Canada and the United States in February, and the United Kingdom in October.