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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…

CBC FORUM Your ideas on how to teach black history beyond Black History Month

Not everyone agrees with maintaining the month-long February tradition By Haydn Watters, CBC News February is Black History Month, a time to reflect, share and learn about the stories, experiences and accomplishments of Canada’s black community. That means many educators will include the topic in their lesson plans. Is Black History Month limiting the teaching of black history? Black History Month: Remembering Canadian civil rights icon Viola Desmond ​A cross-country guide to Black History Month…

Diversity on stage good for all: opera star Mark S. Doss

Racism “is a barrier. It’s a difficulty. It’s something that has to be broken down. And, once it’s broken down, it’s much more beneficial to all of society,” says Mark S. Doss, a Grammy-award-winning opera singer based in Toronto. Doss has performed in 87 different roles in more than 60 opera houses around the world. Opera singer Mark S. Doss says some operas lend themselves to ‘updating’ and more diversity in…

Black History Month – Military service

One of the earliest known commemorative plaques honouring black Canadians is that of a tablet erected at the Ontario Legislative Building in Toronto, Ontario, in memory of those who served with the No. 2 Construction Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, during the Great War. However there had been several black military formations even before that. Captain Runchey’s Company of Coloured Men was one of the first black regiments consisting of both…

Black Vancouverites respond to question ‘Where are you from?’

“Where are you from?” might seem like a harmless question but for black Canadians living in Vancouver, it can bring a wide variety of responses and feelings. Art gallery owner Anthonia Ogundele wanted to explore that question, and the way black Canadians feel about it in a new art project titled, appropriately, “Where Are You From?” at her gallery, The Cheeky Proletariat. The project compiles photos of black Vancouverites and…

Salt Spring Island’s black settlers set stage for today’s community

Former Salt Spring resident Evelyn C. White explores the island’s black history in a photography book By On The Coast, CBC News It may be caricatured as a top destination for hippies and retirees in B.C., but author Evelyn C. White says Salt Spring Island was home to one of B.C.’s most important black communities in the late 1800s and early 1900s. White explores Salt Spring’s black roots in her book…

Hidden history of African American settlers in Wellington, B.C. uncovered

Archivist Christine Meutzner found at least 70 black settlers were living in the old mining town in 1890s By On The Island, CBC News Jimmy Claxton, the first black man to play organized baseball in the 20th century, is one of the most well-known black Canadians in history. But Nanaimo Community Archives manager Christine Meutzner has always believed Claxton’s couldn’t have been the only black family living in Wellington, B.C., where…

Is Black History Month limiting the teaching of black history?

Educators questioning how to broaden black history teaching year-round By Joseph Quigley, CBC News Natasha Henry, an educator and historian in Mississauga, Ont., has worked for years developing programs and workshops aimed at getting more teachers to add black history to their curriculum. As February is Black History Month in Canada and the U.S., teachers across the country will be injecting more of the subject into their classrooms. But Henry wants people to…

Ban blackface in Quebec, online petition by ‘mosquitoes’ pleads

‘Blackface is the caricature of a black person,’ says head of advocacy group CBC News A group of Quebec artists calling themselves “Les Moustiques” (the mosquitoes) launched an online petition calling for the end of blackface in Quebec. “Blackface is the caricature of a black person,” said Emilie Nicolas, president of advocacy group Québec inclusif, and one of the petition’s authors. “It’s rooted in slavery here in Quebec…Using a white…

Filmmaker Barbara Chirinos celebrates black history month with VIFF film series

When filmmaker Barbara Chirinos moved to Vancouver from New York City, she found a gap in the city’s film festivals: there was no celebration of black history.

So she started a series of her own, and VIFF Celebrates Black History Month in now in its fifth year.

This year, the festival explores issues around race, roots, and relocation, from the 1967 race riots in Montreal, to the African roots of tango, to the migrant crisis in Europe.

Montrealers shovel to the beat of African drums

3 men show off their dance moves while shovelling snow in Montreal, get global attention “Ask three Africans living in Canada to shovel and this is what you get.” That was the caption that accompanied Richard Laubonet’s video he posted last weekend onto his Facebook page. ‘Everyone hates shovelling, and I think the fact of seeing people doing it while dancing and having fun resonated with people.’ – Richard Laubonet…

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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