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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…

Montreal International Black Film Festival set for its 13th edition

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Terry Haig | The 13th edition of the Montreal International Black Film Festival opens Wednesday–probably not a minute too soon, given the madness North Americans have been watching over the last year on their television screens’. Most of the 66 films from 25 countries share a common theme: ‘Speak Up’ as organizers put the focus on those those who refuse to be silenced in what they say is…

More honours for Canadian who stood against segregation

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Marc Montgomery | Long before America’s Rosa Parks, there was Canada’s Viola Desmond. Many people know of American Rosa Parks and cite her as the first to stand up for the civil rights of blacks in the U.S.  But Rosa Parks is the American version of Canada’s Viola Desmond who initiated a civil rights case in Canada years earlier, one that has had lasting repercussions. In 1946 Viola Desmond…

The black settlers of Alberta

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Marc Montgomery | It is little known fact even within Canada that there was a small but vibrant group of black settlers in the western prairie province of Alberta. They weren’t really part of the well-known “Underground Railroad” but nonetheless were leaving behind discrimination in the US. Some blacks had arrived in the late 1880’s but settlers really only began to arrive in the still mostly untamed…

An historic moment in hockey history; the all-black line

By Marc Montgomery It was an important moment, a breakthrough moment, in hockey history. It was however a fleeting and not well-known moment. Because of its “milestone” nature, it deserves more recognition. In 1970 for the first time in Canadian university hockey,  the forward line were all black. Bob Dawson was one of those three players on the St Mary’s University team in Halifax Nova Scotia Bob Dawson is a…

Soul on Ice: Black history in the NHL, documentary

By Carmel Kilkenny | ‘Soul on Ice: Past, Present and Future’ is the documentary that was a labour of love for filmmaker Damon Kwame Mason. The 46 year-old, who goes by his middle name, played hockey for two years while growing in Toronto and has a passion for the sport, like a lot of Canadians. But as a young black player, he says he didn’t really understand the game. Mason…

Bringing Canadian black history and experience to schoolkids across Canada

By Marc Montgomery | It began several years ago as a non-profit project to provide access to the arts for underprivileged youth, called Overture with the Arts. It was created by Akilah Newton, who later added an important aspect in connection with Black History Month. That was to bring in her very talented twin brother Omari. Omari Newton is an actor with an impressive record of TV and film appearances. He…

Black Diamond Ball: a gala celebration of the African-Canadian community

The Black Diamond Ball had its inaugural event last February. This year, the soiree on the last weekend of February, Saturday the 25th, is presented again by TD & ArtXperiential Projects.

Canadian blogger Casey Palmer on black experience stories.

By day, Casey Palmer works in the Ontario Public Service, but by night, he’s become a popular blogger reflecting on a number of issues of daily life.

Denial of anti-black experiences are ‘suffocating,’ says advocate

By Lynn Desjardins | When people talk about being subjected to anti-black racism, their friends or acquaintances will often downplay it, says Anthony Morgan, a lawyer and a community advocate. He says being black in Canada can sometime be suffocating. ‘Silencing a lot of African-Canadians’ “Often the experience of black people isn’t recognized when it comes to suffering, anti-black racism, issues of poverty. So, while we have different laws and…

Toronto charity set to celebrate Black History Month

By Lynn Desjardins | Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre is set to kick off two weekends of activities in what it bills as Toronto’s longest-running celebration of Black History Month. This is the 22nd edition of the Kuumba festival and it will focus on “the current political climate through workshops, panel discussions, comedy, music, film and more.” Community activist and author Desmond Cole will moderate discussions on “some of the most pressing issues…

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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