Black History Research Resources

Two great resources BC Archives Black History Records Research Guide in partnership with the BC Archives published in March 2024 and “The Catalogue” originally published in 1978 with ongoing updates – 11 sections providing references for education, legal issues, population, women, politics and more. Both resources provide links and/or references to additional materials. Links to some Canadian Black History websites are at the end of this article.

BC Archives Black History Records Research Guide

Cover page-with muted orange-turguoise graphics, image of 2 researchers checking card catalogues

This Records Research Guide, published in March 2024, was developed in a partnership with the Royal BC Museum and Archives.
It is intended to help researchers locate material related Black History in BC at the BC Archives. It is not a general guide on the subject, which is broad in scope and complex. The guide provides general research tips and tips specific to finding records at the BC Archives. The records include:
Published Sources, Primary Sources, and links to Additional Resources. Within the primary sources the guide will assist you in locating records pertaining to genealogy, government records, textual records, sound recordings, photographs, paintings, prints, maps, and newspapers. Download

A Catalogue of Information and Sources of Information pertaining to Blacks in BC History

This Information Source is the result of two projects; the first in 1978 by the then “Victoria Black People’s Society” which resulted in a 230 page “catalogue’ with 11 sections as shown below; with hundreds of references to books, articles, newspapers, images and aural tapes that had been sourced through a number of public archives; the entire document typed on a Smith-Corona typewriter!

The 2nd project in 2017 was to convert the catalogue into this “online catalogue and information source”. New information is added from time to time.

In January 2020, we were contacted by the Research team from Luxton/Happy Valley Archives; they had found and researched substantial information about Black settlers on the south-western shore of Vancouver Island. It was decided that the information about these settlers would be organized and presented in the same format as “The Catalogue” This section is Happy Valley-Highlands settlers.

Notes on Information Sources includes information about the content of this catalogue and shows the original Cover Page, Preface and Acknowledgements written by then President Jesse J. Dillard, Jr., and the Location of Materials.

Section I: Blacks in Canada Provides an overview for Canada and context for British Columbia.

Section II: Blacks in British Columbia History. References books, articles, newspapers, aural tapes dating back to 1858. Information is presented in more detail in its relevant category in the remaining sections. Special section on Happy Valley-Highlands settlers.

Section III: Population Data from Statistics Canada and historical “unofficial estimates”: Canada, BC, Vancouver, Victoria, Salt Spring Island and Yukon.

Section IV: Education General information, schools and integration teachers with brief biographical information.

Section V: Employment and Occupations General information and Occupations. For each of the 50 plus occupations, the names of persons in these occupations is provided.

Section VI: Women Brief biographical information for each woman with references.

Section VII: The Military and Police Victoria Pioneer Rifle Corps, Armed Forces, Black Policemen serving up to 1978.

Section VIII: Politics Legislative Assembly Elections in Victoria (1860-1864), Salt Spring Island Municipal Council (1783-1833), Political Organizations. Politicians: Brief biographical information.

Section IX: Legal Issues Civil/Human Rights Cases: Jury Duty, Access to Drinking Establishments, Theatre Segregation, Mining Claims, Immigration, False arrests. Criminal Cases: Punishable offenses committed by Blacks, Victoria and the Cariboo 1858-1871, Punishable Offenses Committed Against Blacks 1858-1871.

Section X: The Church and Religious Life Church segregation 1858-1861, Church segregation 1882. The African Methodist Episcopal Church. Religious life in Victoria and Salt Spring Island. Noted individuals.

Section XI: Social Activities and Issues The social activities include social events as well as racial and/or discriminatory issues related to these events/activities.

Canadian Black History Websites

Federal Government: Organizations and educational resources on the history of Black communities in Canada

The Canadian Encyclopedia – Black History in Canada

“A Black People’s History of Canada” Funded by: The Government of Canada, The Department of Canadian Heritage, and Dalhousie University

Federal Government: Canadian Black Heritage Stamps including stamps for British Columbia