In 1981, the Black History Month Celebration Committee (BHMCC) hosted the first Black History Month event in Winnipeg. The inaugural event was a church service at Pilgrim Baptist followed by an Awards Banquet.
In 1990, BHMCC’s role expanded to include programming which creates an awareness of the history of Black people, their contributions in Manitoba, Canada and elsewhere; and celebrates the historical achievements of Black people in arts, education, government, sports and science in Manitoba and Canada.
To see a calendar of local events during Black History Month visit Multiculturalism Secretariat.
Our society is composed of people from diverse linguistic and cultural origins. It is important that all Manitobans have some basic knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the richness of our human diversity, our roots and our peoples’ stories. Equally important, it is important to know and understand how issues of contemporary racism and inequality are rooted in our history.
Black history is Canadian history. It is an essential piece of the Canadian “story”. It gives us insights and understanding of how Canadian and North American societies were formed and how they "work" today. As Canadians work and struggle to build a better society, knowing and appreciating Black history is vitally important. Black history is played out every day in the lives of our friends and neighbours.
Black history is important because it is a history of resistance, resiliency, and hope even in the face of impossible odds. Black history is about social justice, freedom, and the love of humanity. Black history inspires us even when we are frustrated by what seem to be the slow and painful steps that progress takes.
The Black community in Manitoba is diverse and composed of families and individuals who immigrated directly to Canada or who migrated from the US to Canada between 1600-1900 and more recent immigrants with Caribbean, American, African, and Latin American origins.
February (Black History Month) is the month in which we take the opportunity celebrate the progress, richness and diversity of the achievements and contributions of Blacks in Canada and around the world. It provides a focal point for the celebration of Black experiences, perspectives and history throughout the curriculum.
The origins of Black History Month can be traced to 1926, when Black historian Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week to celebrate the history, contributions and culture of African-Americans. Woodson chose February to link the celebrations to the birth dates of Black activist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, as part of the American bi-centennial celebrations, the week was expanded to become National Black History month.
In Canada, official recognition first came in the early 1950s when the Canadian Negro Women's Association successfully petitioned Toronto City Council to acknowledge the week. In the 1970s, the Council, after lobbying by the newly formed Ontario Black History Society, declared that henceforth February would be known as Black History Month.
National recognition followed on December 14, 1995 when the House of Commons unanimously agreed to a motion formally recognizing Black History Month and the importance of Black History for all Canadians.
Black History Month has become an important part of multicultural and antiracism programs and approaches. Many schools in Manitoba recognize and participate in Black History Month activities, especially urban, culturally diverse schools.
There are many websites with information on Black History and Black History Month. We have provided a sample of some of the websites available that may be of interest to teachers and students.
Manitoba Education: Black History Bibliography
This is an annotated list of some of the resources available from the instructional Resources Unit of the Department on Black History. Please note that there are additional resources that are not listed in the Black History bibliography. Contact Reference and Information Services for further information and assistance.
Black History Canada Portal
This is a Historica Foundation of Canada sponsored initiative. The Black History Canada portal is a free, bilingual and fully searchable online gateway that provides educators with a thematically organized selection of resources about Canada's Black history that have been vetted for historical accuracy and relevance. The portal was compiled by editors from The Canadian Encyclopedia in consultation with Rosemary Sadlier, President of the Ontario Black History Society.
The portal guides users from slavery and early settlement to equity and human rights. It addresses the issues of identity and assimilation and uncovers some of the "missing pages" of Canada's Black history – those important but often forgotten contributions of groups such as the Black Loyalists and the Maroons. The achievements of Black artists, athletes and politicians are also celebrated. Each theme features an introductory essay written by Rosemary Sadlier, captivating images, and annotated links to the best online resources available. http://blackhistorycanada.ca/
North Star E-Journal (NSJ)
The North Star E-Journal (NSJ) distributes black history articles to its subscribers by e-mail. The articles are written by published authors, professors of African Studies, and also by NSJ's research and development team writers. Articles featured in the journal cover worldwide historical events, people, and places to travel. A special edition of the journal for Black History Month and other classroom resources are available.
Black History Month
EDSLECT is a Canadian teacher focused website dedicated to providing online resources for teachers. This part of the website is specifically focused on Black History Month. http://www.edselect.com/black_history_month.htm
Leading English Education and Resources Network-Black History Links
LEARN is an educational foundation supported by funding from the Quebec-Canada Entente for Minority Language Education that:
- offers e-learning services and support to all English school boards, private schools, community organizations and the private sector in rural and urban settings;
- supports and promotes pedagogical collaboration and innovation using information technology, and works to model best practices; and
publishes quality learning materials to support educators who are implementing competency-based practices in the classroom.
This part of the site has some great links to Quebec based Black History resources, including Some Missing Pages: The Black Community in the History of Québec and Canada.
Black History in Ontario - The End of Slavery
Archives of Ontario offers a number of online resources and information on the Black presence in Ontario . This is an excellent site for teachers and students.
Exploring Africa: Africa in the Classroom
Michigan State University site is developed for teachers and students wishing to explore Africa, African history and contemporary issues.
Education World - Curriculum: Black History on the Internet
Education World’s annotated list of “best Black History sites for primary, middle, and high school level students.” Activity and lesson ideas are included.
Canadian Black Heritage in the Third Millennium Web Portal
The Canadian Black Heritage in the Third Millennium Web Portal was created by educator/school administrator Gary Pieters, as an online resource for educators, researchers, writers, students and people researching Black History from a Canadian Perspective.
This Web portal contain comprehensive Internet resources which categorizes past, present and future events, people, places and issues about Canadians of African descent. The website reflects his interest in culturally relevant, and inclusive curriculum.