February is Black History Month in Canada, and has been observed in Alberta since 2017. Although often overshadowed by stories of well-known Albertans such as Guy Weadick, Colonel MacLeod, or the Big Four, the contributions of Black Canadians to Alberta’s history are nonetheless equally important to remember.
In commemorating their history, Albertans have traditionally celebrated white Canadian accomplishments. Only very recently have we begun to recognize the important systems of knowledge and culture practiced by the indigenous people whose land we settled, as well as the contributions made by immigrants from non-European backgrounds, past and present. As such, many of us may feel unsure of our role in recognizing Black History Month, including teachers, who may want to recognize the importance of Black Canadian history in their classrooms, but lack the experience to speak with insight or sensitivity.
Where can I learn more?
Alberta Education has built a collection of online resources for teachers and others who want to educate themselves on Black Canadian history and build awareness. These resources include links to materials published by the Alberta Human Rights Commission, Historica Canada, and the CBC, among others. You can access the website here, or by clicking on the image below:
Expanding the search
Additional Black History Month initiatives include:
Mount Royal University’s Black History Month Film Festival
Screenings by notable black filmmakers from Calgary and around the world will take place on February 7, 12, and 26 at Mount Royal University, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Learn more here.
The Military Museum recognizes African-Canadian soldiers from past and present
The Military Museum is commemorating Black History Month from February 5 to 28 at its location on Crowchild Trail. Per the museum, “there will be exhibits, a lecture, and a panel discussion highlighting the service of African-Canadian soldiers serving from the First World War to the present day. Anthony Sherwood’s breakthrough film, Honour Before Glory, is the story of Canada’s segregated black unit NO.2 Construction Battalion, will be screened on Saturdays at 1 pm.
More activities are happening all around Calgary and Edmonton in February, so be sure to check some out while you’re around town. Google is your friend!