Black History Month 2011
The Workers of Colour recognize Black History Month as a month for all Canadians to
acknowledge the past and present contributions of African Canadians and their vast contributions
to the social economic, political and cultural life of Canada.
Why is there a Black History Month?
Although African-Canadians have been present in Canada since the early 1600’s, their
contributions and histories have often been omitted from the official record. For example, there is
little general awareness that:
slavery once existed in Canada;
many Loyalists who settled in the Maritimes were black;
there have been many wartime sacrifices made by Black soldiers extending as far back as the War of 1812
Even more than correcting official accounts of Canadian history, Black History Month serves as a
reminder that African-Canadians have also been at the forefront of the struggle for human rights,
social justice and equality in Canada.
What is the History of Black History Month?
Black History Month began in the United States as “Negro History Week” in February 1926 through
the work of African-American scholar, Dr. Carter Woodson, who proposed the week as an
observance in honor of the accomplishments of Black Americans. In the 1960’s, the United States
began to formally celebrate black history month. Through community events and activities,
organizers sought to present a more balanced and accurate picture of black History.
In 1979, Toronto became the first Municipality within Canada to proclaim Black History Month
through the efforts of many organizations and individuals such as the
Ontario Black History
In 1995, the House of Commons officially recognized Black History Month following a motion
introduced by the first Black Canadian woman elected to parliament—the Honorable Jean
In February 2008, Senator David Oliver, the first black man appointed to the Senate, introduced a
motion to have the senate officially recognize February as Black History Month. The motion
received unanimous approval.
2011 Black History Profiles: A Million Ways to Succeed
In recognition of Black History Month, the Workers of Colour present the Black History 2011
Legacy poster and the profiles of four innovators whose diverse contributions to the economic,
social and cultural life of Canada is unparalleled.