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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…

Filmmaker Barbara Chirinos celebrates black history month with VIFF film series

When filmmaker Barbara Chirinos moved to Vancouver from New York City, she found a gap in the city’s film festivals: there was no celebration of black history.

So she started a series of her own, and VIFF Celebrates Black History Month in now in its fifth year.

This year, the festival explores issues around race, roots, and relocation, from the 1967 race riots in Montreal, to the African roots of tango, to the migrant crisis in Europe.

Montrealers shovel to the beat of African drums

3 men show off their dance moves while shovelling snow in Montreal, get global attention “Ask three Africans living in Canada to shovel and this is what you get.” That was the caption that accompanied Richard Laubonet’s video he posted last weekend onto his Facebook page. ‘Everyone hates shovelling, and I think the fact of seeing people doing it while dancing and having fun resonated with people.’ – Richard Laubonet…

New historical video for Black History Month

Viola Desmond challenged segregation in the eastern province of Nova Scotia in the 1940s. And while she did not win her case, her story became a catalyst for change. And the story will now be brought to the Canadian public in a one-minute video prepared especially for Black History Month which is in February. Desmond was an entrepreneur who went to the movies and sat in the downstairs section reserved…

PK Subban’s mother speaks at Blaxpo, inspires young Montreal professionals

Daybreak’s Shari Okeke speaks with PK Subban’s mother, Maria Subban, at Blaxpo, a Montreal exposition of entrepreneurs and guest speakers from the city’s black communities.

Faith and laughs keep Cicilia Laurent going at 120

Cicilia Laurent has just one birthday wish. The Haitian-born resident of Laval, Quebec, who turned 120 years old on Sunday, wants to meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and ask him a special favour. She wants Trudeau to allow her two great-grandsons in Haiti to visit her in Canada so she can see them again. Laurent, who celebrated her birthday at festive ceremony at the Haitian consulate in downtown Montreal…

Documentary seeks to heal wounds left by landmark protest

Selwyn Jacob says he wanted to make a film about the infamous Sir George Williams Riot the moment he heard about it from his professor at the University of Alberta back in 1969. The Trinidadian-born award-winning producer at the National Film Board of Canada said he felt the reverberations of the protest by fellow Caribbean students in Montreal reach all the way to Alberta, especially since one of the protestors…

Portraits of blacks in Canada

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 the Act Against Slavery in 1793. Many black people came to Canada by their own means. But the Underground Railroad, an…

Black History Month is still very necessary, says spokesperson Valérie Daure

Singer-songwriter Valerie Daure is one of two spokespeople for this years Black History Month. She spoke with Sue Smith about growing up with racism and why we still desperately need a Black History Month. Listen here

Black community members testify they feel like 2nd class citizens

Members of Montreal’s black community had strong words for politicians today on the second day of hearings into the province’s new policy on immigration, diversity and inclusion. They told MNAs they feel like second class citizens in Quebec. “I can’t say that in the eyes of others I am part of Quebec…Even though we are called a visible minority we are invisible,” said Nadia Rousseau, treasurer of the Round Table on…

Black History Month laureates: Madwa-Nika Cadet

Madwa-Nika Cadet, lawyer and young politician, finds inspiration in Michaëlle Jean and Monica Ricourt At 25, Madwa-Nika Cadet is already a seasoned politician and lawyer passionate about giving a voice to the members of her community. Throughout February, Homerun will bring you feature interviews with some of the 2015 Montreal Black History Month laureates — members of the black community who have had a major impact on Quebec society through…

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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