Black History Month

African-American Carter G. Woodson conceived the idea of having a time set aside devoted to the African, and African-American history that Blacks were learning on their own. He chose the week in February that contained the birthdates of two people he credited with bringing about the end of American slavery, President Abraham Lincoln and Black abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, which he called Negro History Week in 1926. The celebration expanded and over time became known as Black History Month.

In Canada, this idea was first celebrated in Toronto by railroad porters within the Black community by 1950; the porters had learned of it on their travels in the United States. The Canadian Negro Women’s Association also hosted a few celebrations. It was not until the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) was founded in 1978, and petitioned the City of Toronto by 1979 to have February proclaimed Black History Month that the celebration started to trickle into the entire community. The OBHS has successfully lobbied the federal government to have February declared as Black History Month. In December 1995, the Parliament of Canada officially recognized February as Black History Month, following a motion introduced by the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine, MP of Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

The OBHS launches the event annually and during and after February Black History Month, provides talks, presentations, professional development, heritage advocacy, displays, and exhibits. The idea is that Black History Month be the pinnacle of celebrating a year of Black history activity and study.

February is Black History Month
Historica Minutes and other multimedia resources about the history of Canada's Black community.

Daniel Grafton Hill
A biography of Daniel Grafton Hill, human rights specialist, historian, and public servant. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Why a Black History Month?
Scroll down to page 2 for an article about the origins of Black History Month by Rosemary Sadlier, President, Ontario Black History Society. From the Toronto District School Board.

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Black History Month
Scroll down the page for Hon. Donald H. Oliver's notice in the Senate of Canada about Black History Month and about his 2008 Senate resolution that led to the month of February being official recognized by the Parliament of Canada as Black History Month. From the website for the Debates of the Senate (Hansard).

Toronto celebrates Black History Month
A brief history of Black History Month celebrations in Toronto. From the website for the City of Toronto.

The Great Black North
An article about Rosemary Sadlier, author and the president of the Ontario Black History Society. Sadlier, the OBHS, and former MP and Parliamentary Secretary Jean Augustine were instrumental in establishing Black History Month in Canada. From Sway magazine.

Untold stories clamour to be heard
A news story about Black History Month, a period of contemplation and celebration of the history of the Black community in Canada. From

Black History Month Association
The website for the Black History Month Association.

In our own words...
Profiles of prominent African Canadians presented in celebration of Black History Month. From the website.

Hon. Jean Augustine, PC , MP , LL.D
Scroll down the page for a photo and brief profile of the Hon. Jean Augustine, PC, MP, LL.D. Also see profile for Fred Sherman, who assisted Hon. Jean Augustine's efforts to recognize Black History Month on a national level. From the website for Black History Ottawa.

African Heritage Month
This guide offers advice for integrating topics related to African Heritage into the curriculum. From the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario.

Black History Month
Read about the role of Black History Month in Canada. Also see related features about the origins of this national celebration of African Canadian history and culture. From the website for the Ontario Black History Society.

Black History Month
The official website for Montréal’s Black History Month.

Quick guide to Black History Month
A look back at contributions that African Canadians have made throughout history regarding the advancement of human rights and related issues. From The Gazette newspaper.

Black History Month 2010
An introduction to the little-known history of Black participation in The United Church of Canada, from the original Union United Church in Montréal to congregations across Canada.

Mixing it up: or putting black history in Montréal
Historian Dr. Dorothy Williams writes about the impact of the Black community on the history of the City of Montréal. From the website for The Link, Concordia University.

Blacks in Canada: A long history
Historical and current Black Canadian population trends. From Statistics Canada. A pdf file.

About the meaning of the term Black in contemporary Canadian society. A Memorial University of Newfoundland website.

The Complex Face of Black Canada
Writer George Elliott Clarke discusses Canadian Black identity. From the McGill News, McGill University, Montréal.

Ethnic Origin
Provides data about minority populations in Canada. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Includes brief references to the Haitian language and languages of enslaved Africans. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Speak it! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia
View a National Film Board video clip of Black students talking about their shared heritage.

Trip to Africa changes lives of Black Nova Scotians
About a program that teaches Black students about their African heritage.

Black Historical and Cultural Society of British Columbia
Celebrating Black heritage in British Columbia.

Toronto celebrates Black History Month
Toronto celebrates Black History Month.