Black History Month is a time to learn and celebrate the many contributions Black Canadians have made all areas Canada’s landscape, Enriching the Education, Politics, Business, Religion and Culture.
Every February, Canadians participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians.
People of African descent have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity since the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, navigator and interpreter, whose presence in Canada dates back to the early 1600s.
The role of Blacks in Canada has not always been viewed as a key feature in Canada’s historic landscape. There is very little mention in the Canadian textbooks at school. Many Canadians are not aware that African people were once enslaved in the territory that is now Canada, or of how those who fought enslavement helped to lay the foundation of Canada’s diverse and inclusive society.
In December 1995, the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month in Canada following a motion introduced by the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine. The House of Commons carried the motion unanimously.
We encourage you to take some time to learn about some of Canada’s trailblazers such as: Carl Best, Viola Desmond, Michaële Jean, Marci Ien, William Peyton Hubbard, Olivier Le Jeune, Donovan Bailey, Winnie Harlow, the real McCoy (Elijah McCoy), Senator Anne Clare Cools, Mattie Mayes, Devon Clunis, Jay Hope, Jean Augustine, Mary Ann Shadd and Pearleen (Borden) Oliver, Alvin Curling, Lincoln Alexander just to name a few. In addition, if you have the opportunity, take in some of the historic sites like Buxton National Historic Site & Museum, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Africville, and Black Loyalist Heritage Centre.
CEIU, through its Human Rights and Race Relations (HRRR) Committee, continues to be a leader in the advancement of human rights for members of African descent, as well as anyone who can self-identify as being Racially Visible, Aboriginal, differently abled, or as a member of the LGBTQ community.
Judy Phillips & Michael Clément
Representatives for Racially Visible Members
Human Rights/Race Relations Committee