“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

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

Black families historic land claims moving forward

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Carmel Kilkenny | Black families in Nova Scotia are among the original settlers of this country. “Freedom and a farm” During the American Revolution the first wave of Black Loyalists, who were then slaves in the 13 colonies the began the United States, came north lured by the British promise of “freedom and a farm”. They served with the British forces and were settled on some of

Ontario acts on violence against blacks

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Lynn Desjardins | Three groups are getting government funding to help reduce violence for black children, youth and families in the province of Ontario. The campaigns will work on prevention by looking at the root causes of violence. One project called Innovate Inclusion involves producing between three and five YouTube videos featuring young adults who have overcome violence. They will speak to the importance of self-worth and

Celebrating Black History Month, in ways large and small

CBC | Nantali Indongo | CBC’s Arts & Culture contributor Nantali Indongo offers up a few suggestions of events and ways to celebrate     On the eve of Black History Month, I hung out at the Eaton Centre and McGill Metro station asking Montrealers their thoughts on the significance of the month-long celebration. Despite my big smile and welcoming demeanour in full-on Quebec winter gear, people ran away from


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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