Celebrating Canada’s Black Heritage
February marks Black History Month, an occasion to reflect on the history of Canada’s black African and Caribbean communities that can be traced back to the origins of Canada.
The stories of historic communities like Africville in Halifax and Hogan’s Alley in Vancouver remind us of the difficult journey for black Canadians in overcoming prejudice and discrimination. Black Canadians are an integral part of Canada’s vibrant and diverse communities. By remembering the contributions of Black communities in Canadian history, we gain a better understanding of our shared Canadian heritage. Indeed, the struggles and achievements of Black Canadians have helped build the Canada of today.
Moreover, throughout Canada’s proud military history thousands of black Canadian soldiers have bravely and courageously served our country. From the American War of Independence onwards, black Canadians have fought and died in Canada’s wars, and military campaigns.
Black History Month is also an opportunity to honour the legacy of individual black Canadians, past and present, whose achievements and contributions have enriched the Canadian experience. From Harriet Tubman who led hundreds of slaves to freedom in Canada along the Underground Railroad, to Lincoln Alexander, who was Canada’s first black Member of Parliament, to Willie O’Ree who was the first black Canadian to play in the NHL, our Canadian heritage is filled with black Canadians who have helped make Canada the culturally diverse, benevolent and prosperous country that it is today.
Black history is an important part of our shared heritage. This month all Canadians are encouraged to learn more about the stories and experiences of black Canadians by participating in one of the many events taking place in honour of Black History Month.