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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…

Lanier Phillip's Newfoundland story

Lanier Phillips,was an American with an amazing story tied to Canada. In 1942, Phillips was a U.S. Navy seaman whose life was changed forever by the kindness he experienced from the people of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland.

John Ware

John Ware looms large in the small field of Black history in Alberta. He was a big man, a cowboy who played an important role in the early days of the ranching industry. Born into slavery in the southern United States, John Ware came to Alberta after the US Civil War and the emancipation of slaves. He died in 1905. Today he’s remembered as a larger than life figure, and…

Oscar Peterson

There’s Oscar Peterson Boulevard and Oscar Peterson Public School in Mississauga, Ontario; Oscar Peterson Square in downtown Toronto; and, in his hometown of Montreal there’s the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall. And, that’s not to mention the 16 honourary degrees between Canada and the United States. The man who wrote the Canadiana Suite received the nation’s highest honour when he was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada in 1984….

Michaëlle Jean

Michaelle Jean A woman of many “firsts’ Michaelle Jean is now is the first woman to lead the Paris-based, International Francophonie Organisation, as Secretary-General. In Canada, she is the Most Honourable Michaelle Jean, having served as Governor General from 2005 to 2010.  She was the 27th since Canadian Confederation, and the first black person to take on the roll.  She was in the position when the earth quake devastated her…

Dany Laferrière

“How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired” is the title of the English translation of Danny Laferriere’s first book, written originally in French.  It got attention in both languages. In December 2013, Dany Laferriere was elected to the Academie francaise in one ballot.  He is the first Haitian, the first Quebecer, and the first Canadian to be granted the honour. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1953, his…

Josiah Henson

Josiah Henson witnessed extraordinary cruelty in a childhood of slavery in the United States, but rose above it in Canada. His settlement, known as Dawn, in southern Ontario, was not far from Lake Erie. There is an interpretive centre there now keeping his story alive, as he tried to, with his first autobiography, called, The Life of Josiah Henson: Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by…

The Hope Boxing Club

In the St. Michel neighbourhood of Montreal, a small idea has become a big success. The Hope Boxing Club, started by Montreal Police Officer, Evens Guercy, has opened doors for many of the neighbourhood kids.

The Slavery Triangle

Liverpool, England was one of the major ports in The Slavery Triangle. Today it is home to the International Slavery Museum. Admission is free, to the permanent and temporary exhibits, but in Britain they celebrate Black History Month in October.

Donovan Bailey

Running was not Donovan Bailey’s first love, but eventually he realized he had something to prove on the track! Few Canadians will ever forget his glorious victories at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and his reign for a time, as the fastest man in the world! He was the first, of only two men to hold all three titles of Olympic Champion, Wolrd Champion and World Record Holder These days,…

Suzette Mayr

Writer, Suzette Mayr’s most recent book, Monoceros, is a tragi-comic tale of bullying and teen suicide. She provides a unique voice from Calgary, Alberta, in her 4 novels, books of poetry and anthologies. Mayr often writes about the multi-cultural and inter-racial realities of Canada today. Her work has been nominated for several literary awards. Credits: Carribean Trip – (C.Bolten) CAV Music AVCD 749 Bobo – (Salif Keïta) Universal Music…

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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