The official launch of Challenging Racist “British Columbia” sponsored by PCHC-MoM (Museum of Migration) and CCPA(BC). (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives). The BC Black History Awareness Society was a partner for this event.
All seven authors – Nicholas XEMŦOLTW̱ Claxton, Denise Fong, Fran Morrison, Christine O’Bonsawin, Maryka Omatsu, John Price and Sharanjit Kaur Sandhra – and the illustrator John Endo Greenaway were present to share how they hope the illustrated resource will be used by educators and activists interested in doing anti-racist work. The discussion was moderate by Dr. Carol Liao, Director PCHC-MoM.
This free and open access publication examines the historical thread of racism and how it connects to the racism that is ongoing. Individuals, educators, and policymakers can use this to amplify the diversity of voices and experiences in our movement and pathway forward. Download the booklet for free here. This book will be further developed into an interactive online resource.
Missed Black History Month events? See below for links to the presentations.
For 25 years BC Black History Awareness Society has hosted a Black History Month program; and this year we have an amazing online program with five events to recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of historical and contemporary people of African descent.
Putting Black British Columbia History to Work: Contemporary Implications of Historical Blackness Sunday, February 7th, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. (PST)
From Prof. Wright “In this talk I try to address the persistent “absent presence” of Blackness largely in terms of history but also in terms of geography. More specifically, I take up named (and for the most part, somewhat known) historical figures (Mifflin Gibbs, Sylvia Stark and, if we dare colour him Black, Sir James Douglas) and use them to try to explain the strategy (racist erasure) by which Blackness has come to be rendered almost fully absent from the conception of BC and to assert the contemporary presence of a rich diversity (e.g. in terms of gender, sexuality, diaspora) of Blackness that belies and resists that erasure.”
Watch the presentation
Prof. Handel Kashope Wright is the Director of the Centre for Culture, Identity and Education and co-editor of African and Diasporic Cultural Studies Book Series. Recent major publications include: Contemporary Orientations in African Cultural Studies. Critical Arts; The Worldliness of Stuart Hall; and Promised Land: History and Historiography of the Black Experience in Chatham-Kent’s Settlements and Beyond.
Black Migration and British Columbia Wednesday, February 17th 2:30 to 4:15 p.m. (PST)
In 1858, an estimated 800 men, women and children of African descent came to British Columbia. Questions include why they came, what was their impact, why many left, where they traveled and many others. In this symposium Canadian and American scholars present their recent research that reveals informative insights on this period of Black history.
View the presentations
Dr. Adam Arenson, Professor of History, Manhattan College. Dr. Arenson’s recent work considers African North Americans crossing the U.S.-Canada border during and after the American Civil War, and how their stories change our histories of immigration, Reconstruction, citizenship, the Great Migration, and African Americans generally.
Sherry Edmunds-Flett, doctoral candidate in History, Simon Fraser University. Ms. Edmunds-Flett is Executive Director of LINC Society in Mission, BC. She has a graduate degree in African Area Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her Ph.D. thesis is on the history of African Canadian women in British Columbia from 1858-1938.
Dr. Stacey Smith, Associate Professor of History, Oregon State University . Dr. Smith specializes in the history of the North American West, with an emphasis on the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Her newest book project, An Empire for Freedom, explores African Americans’ migrations to the Pacific Coast and their struggle for equality in the U.S.’s expanding continental empire.
Dr. Dana Elizabeth Weiner, Associate Professor of History, Wilfrid Laurier University. Dr. Weiner studies and teaches about grassroots politics, social reform and debates over rights in early U.S. history including the development of race in the United States, slavery, the intersection of politics with women’s and gender history, activism, the Civil War era and the changes experienced as the US unified, expanded and divided in its early centuries of existence.
Dr. John Lutz will be a commentator on the presentations. He is a Professor of History at U.Vic. Dr. Lutz’s area of work is the history of Indigenous-settler relations and more broadly the history of the creation and interaction of different racial groups in the Pacific Northwest.
The Fifth Element Saturday, Feb 20th 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. (PST)
Join us online to learn the rich history of the 5 Elements, and of the lands we live on today. This is the 5 Elements of Hip Hop program where we will dive in and explore each elements. Knowledge, DJing/Lyricism, Breakdancing/African dance, and Graffiti.
The first element is Knowledge where we will uncover black Victoria, Indigenous land awareness; followed by special guest speakers, Ernie Paniccioli, legendary Hip Hop Photographer and member of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame and Shane Book, Canadian poet and filmmaker, Associate Professor of Writing at UVIC.
View the presentation
BCBHAS celebrates Music during Black History Month with Pablo Cárdenas Friday, February 26th 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.(PST) In a career spanning more than 60 years, Canadian jazz pianist and composer Oscar Peterson released over 200 recordings, won eight Grammy Awards, and received numerous other awards and honours. He is considered one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time and continues to inspire and challenge new generations of jazz musicians. The sensational Cuban pianist Pablo Cárdenas brings his top trio and reproduces many of Oscar’s most famous and beloved performances. On the line up Rob Johnson on bass, Cyril Lojda on drums. Watch the concert
Ross Bay Cemetery Tour, Sunday, February 28th 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. (PST) An online guided tour of the graves of Black Pioneers and others who were influential in the migration of Blacks to the British Colony. The hosts for this online tour are John Adams, Old Cemeteries Society and Valin Marshall, BC Black History Awareness Society. Watch the tour
Did you know there are more than 50 Black Pioneers and/or their descendants at Ross Bay Cemetery? Check out the BCBHAS article in Old Cemetery Society Jan/Feb 2021 Newsletter, Stone Cuttings. The article “Black Pioneer’s Gravesites at Ross Bay Cemetery” can be found on page 5.
Your support of BC Black History Awareness Society and the programs and activities we offer has been inspiring.
Every new gift, large or small, will make a difference.
Ross Bay Cemetery Tour: The fee for in-person tours has been $5.00. If you would like to donate to the Old Cemeteries Society you can mail a cheque to Old Cemeteries Society. PO Box 50004, RPO Fairfield Plaza, V8S 5L8, Victoria, BC.
Black History Month 2021 is funded in part through support of the Government of Canada.
Event attendee: Tima Miroshnichenko, Unsplash
Prof. Handel Kashope Wright
Symposium Maps: Andrew Neel, Unsplash
Hip Hop Event: Ernie Paniccioli
Pablo Cardenas, Oscar Peterson: Pablo Cardenas
Cemetery Tour: BC Black History Awareness Society
Last Post Fund: Unveiling of three Veterans’ Grave Markers
11 November 2020
Ross Bay Cemetery, 2 – 3PM
The Last Post Fund’s mission is to ensure that no Veteran is denied a dignified funeral and burial, as well as a military gravestone, due to insufficient funds at time of death. Since 1909, the LPF has buried over 150,000 Veterans.
The three Veteran’s Graves are:
- Lieutenant John Marsh Simpson, 77th Foot ( East Middlesex Regiment)
- Sergeant/Captain Paris Carter, Victoria Pioneer Rifle Corps
- #2155,Corporal James Normansell, Royal Engineers
The ceremony will be managed by members of the Last Post Fund, British Columbia Branch with other interested groups and media in attendance. COVID-19 protocols will be observed throughout. Please bring your face mask and come prepared for the weather. The ceremony will continue regardless of weather.
Check the events archive for events dating back to 2011 – Arts and Culture, Recognizing and Celebrating People and Historic Events. and Speakers.