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

Each needs the other to be. “

African proverb

In February 2020, 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. From our archives Danger, hardship, heroism and tragedy. All are features of black immigration to Canada in the nineteenth century. The story of black immigration to Canada began 400 years ago with the arrival of the French at Port Royal. John Graves Simcoe, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, signed…

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…

Slavery Laws

The Fugitive Slave Law or Fugitive Slave Act was passed by the United States Congress on September 18, 1850, as part of the Compromise of 1850 between Southern slave holding interests and Northern Free-Soilers.

Anti-Slavery Movement in Canada

Distinguished Black and White Activists campaigned for the abolition of slavery

The Press and the Anti-slavery movement

Several leading Canadian publications advocated freedom from bondage including the forerunner to today’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

Slaves Uprisings in America

Fueled by their longing for freedom, many slaves try to break free from their owners.

Painting speaks of black slavery in Canada A rare portrait of an African woman hanging in a Montreal museum speaks volumes about slavery in Canada, says McGill University art historian Charmaine Nelson. In school, many Canadians are taught about the Underground Railroad but know little about the slavery that existed in the 200 years before that. “Portrait of a Negro Slave” hangs in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The Underground Railroad was not an actual…

Dispelling the myth that blacks are ill-suited to northern climates

Since 1995 and as a result of a motion in Canada’s parliament, February has been designated Black History Month in Canada. It has been so designated in order to recognize the contribution of black Canadians to this country inclulding such fields as science, business, sport, arts, politics, social justice, and so on. Noted author, and lecturer, George Elliot Clarke, says there are still hurdles for blacks in Canada to overcome….

Canada Post stamps for Black History Month

Canada Post has created two more stamps in its ongoing series commemorating February’s Black History Month in Canada. The two stamps represent two of the earliest black communities in Canada, on opposite sides of the country. A 1958 photo of girls from an Africville bible class is featured on one of the two new stamps to celebrate February’s Black History Month in Canada *** CLICK ON PHOTO FOR FULL VIEW…

Black History Month. RCAF Maj Walter Peters.

(Canada Aviation and Space Museum) Retired Major Walter Peters stands in front of a Canadair CT-114 Tutor jet used by the Snowbirds at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa last February. Maj. Peters was born in Litchfield, Annapolis County,Nova Scotia in 1937, became Canada’s first black jet fighter pilot and also a member of Canada’s famed Snowbirds flight team Walter Peters was a pioneer. He was this country’s…

Viola Desmond

The month of February, is annually recognized by the Canadian government as black-history month. It was in February back in 1965 that one of the first people to stand up for black rights in North America, died. Years before American Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a bus in Alabama, in the United States in 1955, Canadian Viola Desmond refused to move from the floor seating of…

Canadian photo exhibit illustrates Black History

February is Black History Month in Canada and that is drawing attention to a unique photo exhibition at Ryerson University in the heart of Toronto. The university has a dedicated image centre that currently features an exhibition called Human Rights Human Wrongs. The exhibition showcases original press photographs of events from the U.S. Civil Rights Movement as well as images of the independence movements in Africa.

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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