Black History and Heritage Day

Black History and Heritage Day


February 10, 2024    
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Royal BC Museum
675 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC, V8W 9W2

Event Type

Take this opportunity to meet and talk with direct descendants about their stories and family history and meet with local organizations that are dedicated to the preservation of historical records related to Black history in BC. The exhibits include images, artifacts, and archival documents.  Free!

Live Music in Clifford Carl Hall by the Noedy HD Trio with Noedy Hecavarria Duharte – saxophone, Phil Albert – bass, and Miles Fuller – drums


The Alexander Family and Saanich Pioneers Society Presenter, Karen Hoshal, is a direct descendant of Charles and Nancy Alexander who were part of the 1858 migration of the Black Pioneers to B.C. from San Francisco.   The Alexander’s settled in Saanich and were instrumental in building and establishing the Black Community, the Shady Creek Church and schools.  The display includes photographs, archival materials and the actual dress made for Nancy in 1909 for their 60th wedding anniversary.

Karen will be joined by Susan Myerscroft, Saanich Pioneers Society. The Society operates the “Log Cabin Museum and Archives” in Saanichton, Vancouver Island’ “dedicated to the preservation of the historical records of the Saanich Peninsula” Several of the first Black settlers made their homes in this area.   Their archives and museum house collections from the pioneer families, both textual and in artifact form.

Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria is dedicated to researching, preserving and encouraging the appreciation of Victoria’s heritage cemeteries.  OCS members are involved in many volunteer activities which includes cataloging, cleaning and restoring monuments, computerizing burial records, combating vandalism, conducting historical research and giving walking history tours… and for more than a decade, Old Cemeteries Society has conducted a tour of some of the Black Pioneer grave sites at Ross Bay Cemetery; their display at this Heritage Day event will highlight information about some of these pioneers; the tour will take place on February 25th.  

 African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island (AHAVI) – building a united and strong community by co-operatively organizing and supporting events and activities to meet the needs of Africans, people of African descent, and friends of Africa on Vancouver Island. The objectives of AHAVI are to: Foster a sense of community among Africans, people of African descent, and friends of Africa on Vancouver Island; Promote the provision of the best possible services for all; Promote the cultural development of its members; and to facilitate communication among its members and with members of other organizations and communities on Vancouver Island.

AHAVI will also be sharing the story of St. Josephine Bakhita, (1869 – 1947).  She is a Sudanese-born Roman Catholic saint who survived kidnapping and enslavement. She is the patron saint of Sudan and of victims of human trafficking.  Her death day, February 8, is also recognized as a feast day.

Underground Railroad presented by Ron Nicholson, a twenty-year member of the BC Black History Awareness Society and a fourth generation Canadian, whose great-grandfather was an actual traveler of the Underground Railroad.  His display is a visual presentation featuring Harriet Tubman, a famous conductor of the UGRR, and other members of the Vigilance Committee who helped the fugitive slaves, along the many escape routes to freedom in the northern states and eventually into Upper Canada.

The No. 2 Construction Battalion CEF presented by Ron Nicholson and Door Gibson. The No.2 Construction Battalion was the first and only Black battalion in Canadian military history, authorized to fight in World War I on July 5, 1916, with headquarters at Pictou, Nova Scotia. Five men from BC enlisted in the Battalion.

On July 9, 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a National Apology to the Descendants and Families of the No. 2 Construction Battalion. The Apology took place in Truro Nova Scotia on the grounds where the Battalion trained.  Ron was a member of the National Apology Advisory Committee (NAAC) and he attended the event in Nova Scotia in 2022. Door is Captain (Ret’d) D.L. Gibson, MMM, CD; one of our members and a member of the Last Post Fund.

BC Black History – “The Pioneers” presented by Ron Nicholson, this exhibit gives a brief insight into the intrepid pioneers who arrived in 1858. They were free men and women seeking a place where they could raise their families, educate their children, practise their professions, vote, and, they could live with equality under the law.  Mifflin Gibbs, their defacto leader and 1st person to be elected and serve as a Victoria city councillor is featured in this exhibit.


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