extracted from Rosemary Sadlier
President, Ontario Black History Society
Reverend Captain William A. White, Chaplain
Black History Month evolved from the work of Carter G. Woodson
, an African American, in the 1920s. He established Black History Week as a week of celebration to follow the year’s study of Black history.
Dionne Brand, Poet Laureate
The week he chose contained the birthdates of two people significant to the ability of people of African descent to be free to obtain an education. The week includes February 12th for President Abraham Lincoln
, who brought emancipation into the law in the United States, and February 14th for Frederick Douglass
, who advocated for Blacks to do what they could within their own country to lead to a better life for all Black people.
Lesra Martin, Lawyer
In the 1950s, the Canadian Negro Women’s Association brought the celebration to Toronto, Ontario. By 1978, the Ontario Black History Society, whose mandate includes the promotion of Black history education, successfully petitioned the City of Toronto to have the now monthly celebration formally recognized. Toronto, many other cities, and the province of Ontario currently proclaim February as Black History Month
Mayann Francis, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia
But why have a Black History Month?
Measha Brueggergosman, Opera Singer
African Canadian students need to feel affirmed, to be aware of the contributions made by other people of African Heritage globally, to have role models, and to understand the social forces which have shaped and influenced their community and their identities so that they can feel connected to the educational experience and their life experience in the various regions of Canada and around the world.
Ken Wiwa, Journalist and Peace Activist
Some questions to consider discussing with your children:
– When you think about people of African descent who do you think about? Why do the people you think about come to mind?
– Are there a lot of people of African descent attending Jackman school? Why or why not?
– Have you asked friends of African descent how their lives are similar and different to your own?