What's on for Black History Month 2022 in Hamilton and surrounding area

A preview of a new Hamilton Black History Database and a webinar hosted by McMaster University are among several events that mark the start of this year's Black History Month in the city.

From a preview of a new Black history database to author talks and film screenings, here are events to note

Hamilton Public Library invites members of the public to celebrate Black History Month with a conversation featuring authors (left to right) Sarah Raughley, Asha Bromfield, and Liselle Sambury. (Submitted by Hamilton Public Library)

A preview of a new Hamilton Black History Database and a webinar hosted by McMaster University are among several events that mark the start of this year's Black History Month in the city. 

The Black History Database is a joint initiative by the Afro Canadian Caribbean Association and the Hamilton Black History Council, with funding provided by the Centre for Community Engaged Narrative Arts.

The Hamilton Black History Council hosts a "virtual experience" of the database between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday, to kick off the month. (The database will officially launch on Feb. 21.)

Here's a list of other events for Black History Month in Hamilton and surrounding areas:

McMaster panel on campus initiatives

Later on Tuesday, a McMaster webinar running from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. marks the beginning of Black History Month events hosted by the university.

Under the theme, "Words to Action: Speaking to Black Focused Commitments and Initiatives on Campus," the event will be led by Nicole Agyei-Odame, student experience coordinator from the faculty of social science and is one of several hosted by the university this month. 

The speakers for the McMaster webinar on Feb. 1 include:

  • Clare Warner, senior advisor, Equity and Inclusion and Anti-Racism, Student Affairs.
  • Iyobosa Faith Ogunkoya, manager, Black Student Success
  • Sophia Holness, senior manager Information Technology and chair, Black Indigenous Racialized Employee Resource Group.
  • Inès Ndzana, 3rd-year HBSc Kinesiology and Black Student Mentorship Program mentor.
  • Shae-Ashleigh Owen, political science candidate and Student Mentorship Program mentor.
  • Juliet Daniel, professor and co-founder of the African Caribbean Faculty Association of McMaster (ACFAM).
  • Bonny Ibhawoh, professor and AFCAM co-founder.
  • Alpha Abebe, assistant professor and Humanities and African and Black Diaspora Studies program lead.

Those interested may register here.

A webinar titled The Words to Action: Speaking to Black Focused Commitments and Initiatives on Campus, will be hosted by by McMaster University's Black History Month Planning Committee, the Equity and Inclusion Office and the Black Student Success Centre. (CBC)

Virtual museum lecture series in St. Catharines

As part of Black History Month, the Winter 2022 season of the virtual museum lecture series will kick off with two lectures exploring Black history in St. Catharines. 

The Daily Grind: Records of Freedom Seekers in St. Catharines: This will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. This lecture — presented by Abbey Stansfield — will examine the daily life of freedom seekers as they settled into their new home in St. Catharines.

Upper Canada's Black Defenders Take on Niagara's 'Wild West': This will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. You can join this lecture for some remarkable stories presented by Visitor Services Coordinator Adrian Petry.

Virtual Black History Program: On the Liberty Line

You can also explore early Black history in St. Catharines through the eyes of freedom seekers and members of the Black community during the era of the Underground Railroad. Designed for people of all ages, this virtual program incorporates videos, activities, as well as images and other materials from the museum collection. The dates are as follows:

  • Thursday, Feb. 10 at 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. 

Film Screening at St. Catharines Museum

There will be a special screening of the documentary film Risking Everything: A Story of Niagara's Freedom Seekers. This in-person event is open to the public by donation. Limited seating is available. The dates are as follows:

  • Saturday, Feb. 5 at 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.

Niagara Parks Black history speaker series

Organizers say people can discover three different perspectives on Black history and culture in Canada with this three-part online speaker series, which "will explore the power of the Black community in Niagara." According to the organizers, the series features "those who made headlines by escaping the bondage of slavery to settle in Niagara, to those who influenced the political and business scene on both sides of the Niagara River and throughout Ontario."

These are live-streamed, digital events (the first took place Jan. 26, the second is Feb. 23 and the third March 30). Tickets are required to grant access using any computer, tablet or mobile device for the interactive sessions involving community historians and commentators specializing in Black history and culture.

The Burlington Public Library is hosting a number of virtual events including a Feb. 16 event with Hamilton author Lawrence Hill, whose new book, Beatrice and Croc Harry, was released Jan. 11. Later that day, Hill will also be part of a Hamilton Public Library event. (HarperCollins Canada, Beatrice Freedman)

Conversation with authors at Hamilton Public Library

Hamilton Public Library invites members of the public to mark Black History Month with a conversation featuring authors Asha Bromfield, Sarah Raughley and Liselle Sambury.

The 45-minute discussion and question period will be held on Saturday, Feb. 12 starting at 2 p.m. and will be facilitated by Yolanda T. Marshall, a Guyanese-born Canadian children's book author of Keman's First Carnival, A Piece of Black Cake for Santa, Sweet Sorrel Stand, Miles Away In The Caribbean and C is for Carnival

The conversation features:

  • Asha Bromfield, an actress, singer and writer of Afro-Jamaican descent. She's the author of Hurricane Summer and is known for playing Melody Jones, drummer of Josie and the Pussycats in television show Riverdale. Bromfield also stars as Zadie Wells in Locke and Key
  • Sarah Raughley, the author of The Bones of Ruin and the Effigies series. She also leads writing workshops for youth and adults in the community. Raughley has a PhD in English and her research focuses on representations of race and gender in popular media culture, youth culture, and post-colonialism. 
  • Liselle Sambury, a Trinidadian-Canadian and author of Blood Like Magic. She reaches up and coming writers through a YouTube channel showcasing her publishing journey.

Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes and the newly published children's novel Beatrice and Croc Harry, is also taking part in the library's activities this month.

Residents can watch a reading and take part in a conversation and question and answer period about Beatrice and Croc Harry. That will take place on Feb. 16 from 7-8 p.m.

This event will take place at 6 p.m. over Zoom and will give students the opportunity to celebrate and learn all about Black History including influential people, events, and movements. (Mohawk Students Association)

Black History Bingo

On Friday, Feb. 7, the Mohawk Students' Association will host virtual Black History BINGO.

The event will take place on Zoom at 6 p.m. and give students an opportunity to celebrate and learn all about Black History including influential people, events, movements and how they shaped Black history.

Burlington Public Library events

Burlington Public Library is also hosting virtual events throughout Black History Month, from author talks to family programs with special guests.

Registration for programs opens Feb 2. Librarians have also put together lists of recommended resources, including books, ebooks, streaming movies and more.

Brantford stories

Unite Against Hate! launched in 2020 as a way to highlight Brantford's Black-owned businesses and Black history. This month, the group will be posting content on its social media channels about Brantford's Black history, "to better understand and appreciate Brantford's Black community while celebrating the promise for Brantford's Black futures." 


Desmond Brown

Web Writer / Editor

Desmond writes regularly for CBC Hamilton and Toronto. Before joining CBC News in 2017, he worked with news agencies including AP and IPS. He reported for AP from Grenada, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago; and for IPS from Paris, Poland, Turkey and the U.S., to name a few. Desmond has a particular interest in social justice issues and human interest stories. Drop him a line at: desmond.brown@cbc.ca.