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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…

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Marc Montgomery | For the first time, the NHL will be adapting the thrust of its February campaign of “hockey is for everyone” to a focus of celebrating Black History Month. The league (NHL) and the players association (NHLPA) have joined to mark the new campaign focus with special websites have set up to highlight the achievements and contributions of black players throughout the years. Canadian Willie O’Ree…

African-based performances planned for Black History Month

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Lynn Desjardins | The Nuits d’Afrique music festival takes place every summer in Montreal, but it will also contribute to the festivities planned for Black History Month this February 2019. The producers of this event seek to promote and share all types of music rooted in Africa. They have planned what they say will be a journey through African history through four evenings of international entertainment. One…

New collector coin honours civil rights icon

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Marc Montgomery | In a small incident that has since become legendary, North America’s first fight for black rights will be honoured once again by the Royal Canadian Mint. In 1946, years before the Rosa Parks incident in the U.S., Canadian businesswoman Viola Desmond, refused to give up her seat in a “whites only” section of a movie theatre in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Arrested and charged with…

New stamp honours first black letter carrier

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Lynn Desjardins | February is Black History Month in Canada and this year, Canada Post is marking the occasion by issuing a stamp depicting Albert Jackson, likely the first black mail carrier in Canada. Jackson was born into slavery in the United States in the 1850s. His mother escaped with seven children including Albert who was a toddler at the time and came to Canada via the…

The story of the Black Porters on Canadian railways

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Marc Montgomery | It was a unique chapter in Canadian history.  The age of rail travel blossomed in the 20th century, and along with it a need for workers aboard the trains to help the passengers, particularly those in the sleeping cars. They were almost exclusively black, and later helped change Canadian immigration law, and by extension, the shape of modern Canada A new book tells their story…

Mermaids to feature at immigration museum show

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Lynn Desjardins | February is Black History Month in Canada and Canada’s immigration museum is “enthused to showcase the many exceptional African Canadian artists onstage” as part of a show it is presenting February 8, 9 and 10, 2019. The show is called Winter Solstice: Souls of Sirens and will be presented by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in the eastern city of Halifax….

Anti-violence campaign involves black youth in Ontario

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Lynn Desjardins | As part of a $47-million-dollar anti-racist Black Youth Action Plan, the government of the province on Ontario has mandated several campaigns including one that involves five videos and four live events. The project by Innovate Inclusion aims to reduce instances of violence. “The Violence 360 campaign takes a preventative approach by providing the black community as well as the community at large with examples…

Black History Month: time for it to go?

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Carmel Kilkenny | Black History Month may have outlived its usefulness according to Bee Quammie, a young writer, speaker and producer in Toronto. Listen to the interview At the beginning of February in 2017, Quammie aired her views on the CBC’s National news broadcast, talking about why it was “Time for Black History Month To Go”. She described being “fed up with the whole thing”, having the talks…

Positive change for black youth in Ontario is project goal

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Lynn Desjardins | The Toronto company, Urban Rez Solutions has launched a three-pronged project as part of a province of Ontario government campaign to reduce violence for its black citizens. The government has committed $47 million over four years to its Black Youth Action Plan and the funds will go to several groups in hopes of supporting 10,800 black children, youth and their families annually. ‘Telling our…

Breaking a colour barrier in sports

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Marc Montgomery | The year was 1934 in the central province of Ontario, and the sport was baseball. Baseball was the huge major summer sport in North America and stadiums were always filled. Long before Jackie Robinson would break the colour barrier in major league baseball with the Montreal Royals, a small town team made major headlines. Based in the southwestern corner of the province in the mostly…

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