February is Black History Month

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.

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