Wednesday, February 2, 2011 | Categories: |
Singer-songwriter Jill Barber is one of six music acts that performed at the 2007 Bandwith Black History Month Concert (CP PHOTO/Andrew Vaughan)
In Canada and the United States, February is Black History Month. The event dates back to 1926, when it was first organized by an African American historian named Carter G. Woodson. Mr. Woodson argued that the contributions of African Americans were often "overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them". His goal was to change all that by raising awareness of Black History in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
Carter Woodson named the event "Negro History Week", and he choose the second week in February because it marked the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The week was later extended to the full month of February and changed its name to Black History Month.
The celebrations of black history in Canada began in some communities during the 1950s, thanks to groups like the Canadian Negro Women's Association. In 1979, Toronto became the first municipality in Canada to proclaim Black History Month, and finally, in 1995, Toronto Area MP Jean Augustine introduced a motion to recognise Black History Month across Canada -- which was passed unanimously by the House of Commons.
In 2007 the CBC program "Bandwidth" decided to mark the occasion with a special live concert. The show's goal was to tell a story of six remarkable African Canadians, but not just through words. They also invited six musical acts from Ontario to write and perform songs about those six people.
This episode of Bandwidth was recognized with a Bronze Medal at the New York Festivals in the category of Best Music Special.