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

Each needs the other to be. “

African proverb

In February 2018, 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.

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…

Slave songs are a point of pride for Vancouver musician Khari McClelland

The songs of African-American slaves who crossed into Canada are more than 150 years old, but Vancouver-based musician Khari McClelland still takes pride in them today. McClelland’s great-great-great-grandmother Kizzy is one of those slaves, forgotten by the history books but remembered fondly by family. Even her last name has been lost. “She is totally the reason for my being,” says McClelland, a member of Vancouver-based gospel group The Sojourners. This is one of the few photographs of…

Black history month: Slavery, blackface, even Lil Wayne in high school show

A twin brother and sister duo put on a show for Montreal high school students to prompt them to reconsider their beliefs about race and what they think they know about black history.

Profile: Lincoln Alexander

In 1945, Cpl. Lincoln Alexander was refused service at a Vancouver bar because he was black. Forty years later, the son of West Indies immigrants was appointed Ontario’s 24th lieutenant-governor, the first black Canadian to be appointed to a viceregal position in Canada. Born in Toronto in 1922, Alexander accomplished several firsts for Canada’s black community. During WWII, he was one of the few blacks who were allowed to enlist in…

Francisca Mandeya’s journey from Zimbabwe to Nunavut

‘It’s surprising how we always want to look for difference where there’s actually a lot of similarity’ By Sima Sahar Zerehi, CBC News Francisca Mandeya gets teary-eyed when speaking about her three kids. She came to Nunavut as a refugee from Zimbabwe just over a year ago but she couldn’t bring her children with her. “Sometimes life doesn’t give you a choice,” said Mandeya. “I was in a position that I…

Black History Month- Toronto Black Film Fest

Toronto Ontario is the most culturally and ethnically diverse city in Canada, and one of the biggest celebrations of diversity is coming this week.

It’s only been four years, but the Toronto Black Film Festival has grown by leaps and bounds. This is not only in audience participation, but in it’s importance and influence

Being Black in Canada

To mark Black History Month, host Asha Tomlinson examines various aspects of the black experience in this country

Wrestler Cleopas Ncube sets his sights on Rio

Cleopas Ncube was born in Zimbabwe. His family left Africa because of the political situation and moved to Canada when Ncube was a child. He credits much of his success to his mother who he describes as an endless fountain of hope.

Black history month: Senator Anne C. Cools

In this month marking black history in Canada, we speak with Canadian Senator Anne C. Cools.

Senator Cools was the first black person to become a Canadian senator, and the first black woman senator in North America. These are just two of the many firsts and other leading roles she has taken on in her life.

Black History Month: Remembering Canadian civil rights icon Viola Desmond

Sister Wanda Robson picked up fight for justice more than 6 decades later By Asha Tomlinson, CBC News Wanda Robson becomes very emotional when she thinks about what her sister — Canadian civil rights icon Viola Desmond — would tell her if she were alive today. Viola would say: “I’m so proud of you and I love you very much. I’m so happy that you thought enough of me to clear my…

Photo reminds us of Canada’s first all-black battalion

CBC’s Colleen Jones with No. 2 Construction Battalion’s unique place in Canadian history

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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