Celebrating Black History Month

February 10, 2014 at 1:41pm

Every February, people across North America celebrate Black History Month. It’s a time to remember the important culture, achievements and contributions of African Canadian figures and their vital role in our country’s history and future.

In Canada, the observation of Black History month began in the 1950s. It was originally celebrated by railroad porters within the Black community of Toronto, who first learned of it from their travels to the U.S., where it began in the mid-1920s.

A number of important organizations recognized the commemoration over the years, such as the Canadian Negro Women’s Association which brought the celebration to Toronto in the 1950s. The Ontario Black History Society (OBHS), which was founded in 1978, brought a petition forth to the City of Toronto in 1979 to have February proclaimed Black History Month. The motion was successful, and the celebration quickly started spreading.

In December 1995, Canada officially declared February as Black History Month. The proposal to make this declaration was introduced by the Honourable Jean Augustine, MP of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, who was the first African-Canadian woman elected to Canadian Parliament.

Today, Black History Month celebrations take place throughout many communities. We honour the struggles and successes of individuals throughout history, whose contributions helped make Canada into the vibrant multiethnic and multicultural society that we’re proud to call home today.