“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” – Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr.
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” – Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr.


Black History Month 2021 Banner

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.

Prof. Handel Kashope Wright

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.”
Register in advance for this online event. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event.

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.

BCBHAS Symposium Graphic

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.
Register in advance for this online event. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event.

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.

Ernie Panicciolli with one of his latest album covers

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 of the five elements: Knowledge, Djing/Lyricism, Breakdancing/African dance, and Graffiti.
Our goal is to use Hip Hop pedagogy to embed themes of identity, power, resistance and creativity in the sessions to re-engage Black and Indigenous youth in this society. Register in advance for this online event. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event.

The first element is Knowledge where we will uncover black Victoria, Indigenous land awareness; followed by special guest speaker, Ernie Paniccioli, legendary Hip Hop Photographer and member of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame.

Crowd attending tour at Ross Bay Cemetery

Ross Bay Cemetery Tour, Sunday, February 21st, 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. The ZOOM link will be posted here in early February.

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.

Pablo Cardenas beside image of Oscar Peterson

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.

Take in this amazing show at:
Hermann’s YouTube channel
Hermann’s website
Hermann’s Facebook page
Hermann’s Vimeo channel

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.

Partner Events for BHM 2021

Black History in VictoriaWednesday, February 3, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
UVIC Continuing Education: Humanities and Social Sciences, with local author and historian John Adams. You must pre-register for this event by Saturday, January 30th Course Description, Prerequisites, Registration and Fees can all be found here.

Image/Photography Credits
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

November 2020

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.

Previous Events

Check the events archive for events dating back to 2011 – Arts and Culture, Recognizing and Celebrating People and Historic Events. and Speakers.