Black History Month is an opportunity to learn, reflect and appreciate the achievements and legacy of Black Canadians. Learn more about Black History Month in Canada here.
Discover Black History Month programs, events and reading lists below and join the celebration.
Programs & Events
An Evening with Antonio Michael Downing: Author of Saga Boy
Hosted by: Fitsum Areguy
Thursday, February 18 at 7pm
Antonio Michael Downing grew up in southern Trinidad, Northern Ontario, Scarborough, and Kitchener. He is a musician, writer, and activist based in Toronto. His 2010 debut novel, Molasses (Blaurock Press), was published to critical acclaim. In 2017 he was named by the RBC Taylor Prize as one of Canada's top Emerging Authors for nonfiction. He performs and composes music as John Orpheus. His new book Saga Boy: My Life in Blackness and Becoming is an an enthralling, deeply personal account of a young immigrant's search for belonging and Black identity amid the long-lasting effects of cultural dislocation.
Local Roots: Tracing Black Lives & Histories in Guelph/Wellington County
Saturday, February 20 at 7pm
Doctor Jade Ferguson of the University of Guelph has done extensive research on the Black community that established itself in the Essex Street neighbourhood of Guelph in the mid 1800s. Learn about the people who called this community “home”, their struggles and triumphs, and their contributions to local history and beyond.
Test Your Knowledge of North American Black History
Monday, February 22 at 7pm
From slavery, to emancipation, to the civil rights movement, to Black Lives Matter, how well do you know the history of Black people in North America? Come test your knowledge, and likely learn something new.
Things My Fore-Sisters Saw
Wednesday, February 24 at 12:30pm
Perfect for classrooms and online learning. Grades 5 and up.
Written and performed by Leslie McCurdy, this one-woman play introduces audiences to four Black women who affected significant social changes in Canadian History. This docu-drama portrays real historical events, collected from primary and secondary sources, to share remarkable stories from the lives of Marie-Joseph Angélique –a slave from Montreal, Rose Fortune –the first female police officer in Canada, Mary-Ann Shadd – the first Black female newspaper publisher in Canada, and Viola Desmond, who’s fight against segregation is honoured on the Canadian ten-dollar bill. A recording of the play with be presented with a Q&A session with Leslie McCurdy following.
Renison Lecture: Ommisions & Exclusion of Black People in Canada's Past
Friday, February 26 at 10:30am
This talk is an examination of the ethos which sees Canada as a place where racial injustice, inequality and discrimination were at most limited and outside of the Canadian mainstream. Canadian historical records documenting the early arrival of Blacks, and White responses to their arrival reveal a different story. Contemporary Canadian racism continues to negatively affect opportunities for Blacks and their quality of life. The interplay of the recorded history and contemporary denials are seen as key elements for challenging the Canadian Ethos. This Ethos is a factor in creating barriers that prevent Black and White Canadians from recognizing the need for change. Presented by Dr. Wilburn Hayden. Presented in partnership with Renison University College.
Reading & WaTCHING LIsts
Black voices matter. Take a look at our Diverse Voices lists of books, music and movies celebrating Black artists and writers.
These staff-curated lists are just a starting point in learning more about our diverse community. If you are looking for more resources, reading and otherwise, please just ask us.