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“You cannot paint white on white, black on black.  

Each needs the other to be. “

African proverb

In February 2018, as every year, Radio-Canada marks Black History Month with a varied program on all platforms.
This site includes exclusive content and recent archives on the realities facing our black fellow citizens. Learn more

Portraits of Black Canadians

Find out more about black Canadians who contributed to the building of Canada and who are making their mark every day.

About Black History Month

The first Black person in Canada, Mathieu Da Costa, arrived on the country’s East Coast in 1605. He’d sailed with Samuel de Champlain, hired as a valued interpreter. But for the many Blacks who arrived after him, the experience was very different. Black history in North America, unlike “White” history, must take into account the hundreds of thousands of Africans who were brought to this continent against their will. The…

Remembering Our Original True Stories

This documentary follows a seventh generation Black Canadian man who goes to Jamaica for the second time, on a mission to document and reconnect with his Jamaican Maroons Roots. At Stepney Elementary School, in the birthplace of the legendary Bob Marley, as Papa Grand teaches and shares the oral history passed down to him from his Nova Scotian ancestors as well as from the Maroons of Acompong Town, Trelaney and…

Lou Hooper

Once Oscar Peterson’s piano teacher, Lou Hooper wrote ragtime classics like, The Cakewalk, Black Cat Blues, South Sea Strut and Uncle Remus Stomp.  Lou Hooper died in Charlottetown, PEI in 1977 not long after the debut of the ballet he wrote, called Congo.

George Frederick Johnson

George Frederick Johnson joined the army at 16 and witnessed military history during WW II.

Sam Langford

In 1955 Sam Langford was enshrined in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. And then in 1999, he was voted Nova Scotia’s top male athlete of the 20th century!

O Canada

In this animated spoken word piece, Lucius Dechausay, shares the challenges of forming a cultural identity in Canada: from Black history in Africville to his roots in The Dominican Republic.

William Hall

Black men fought in the battles that shaped our history and this is the story of the first awarded the Victoria Cross. A branch of the Canadian Legion in Halifax was eventually named in his honor and in 1967 William Hall’s medals were returned to Canada from England for display at Expo ’67 in Montreal. Now they are in the Nova Scotia Museum. Fils d’un ancien esclave, William Hall a…

Mary Ann Shadd Cary

The first black female newspaper editor in North America, Mary Ann Shadd Cary found a refuge and a springboard in Windsor, Ontario.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman is the woman who became known as “Grandma Moses”. She was given the nickname for leading her people to freedom in Canada. She was also known as ‘General’ for having led a raid in the American Civil War. March 10th in the United States is dedicated to her memory.

Olivier Le Jeune

The first slave transaction in Canada was over a child. But records suggest Olivier Le Jeune was eventually bought and sold into a better life.

Mathieu Da Costa

Mathieu Da Costa, the first black man to arrive in Canada, is said to have been born in the Azores. The Mathieu da Costa Challenge is an annual event in Canada now. Young people across the country compete with compositions and drawings that express Canada’s unique history and diversity.

RCI • Radio Canada International
Luc Simard – Director of Diversity and Relations. Radio-Canada

Your opinion on Black History Month

Black History Month is only celebrated in North America and in the UK. Do you think it should be celebrated all over the world?

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