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Celebrating Black History Month

From attending virtual events to reading books, here is a list of resources to learn more about Black history and celebrate Black contributions.

Join us in learning about Black history and celebrating Black contributions

February is Black History Month — a time where we celebrate the many achievements that Black Canadians have contributed to Canada's history and culture. 

Manitoba hosts many Black cultures. In fact, the fastest growing Black population in Canada is on the Canadian Prairies, where it has quadrupled in the last 20 years. 

Although we are still in a pandemic, there are still many ways for us to learn about the contributions of Black Canadians digitally and safely in-person. Look below for a list of local and national resources. 

The Black History Manitoba Celebration Committee (BHMCC) shares local events happening this month. (Black History Manitoba) (Black History Manitoba)

Virtual events to attend

Did you know that The Porter was filmed in Winnipeg last year? View never before seen footage as captured by RTDNA award-winning Uncensored host, Alexa Joy on Feb. 17. (CBC Gem)

Local Resources

The Winnipeg Public Library has put together an Info Guide about Black history, with an emphasis on Canadian experiences. The resources include articles, documentaries, short videos, and book recommendations. You can also select from the categories below:

The University of Winnipeg Students' Association (UWSA) has added more local and national resources to their growing BHM list, with categories ranging from restaurants to community organizations.


Afro Prairie Film Festival

The Winnipeg Film Group has gathered new Black Canadian short films in the Afro Prairie Film Festival competition, including: 

  • Wash Day | dir. Kourtney Jackson, 10 mins, An intimate exploration into how private daily acts become a significant re-acquaintance with the body.

  • Kalunga Line | dir. Ami Kenzo, 9.5 mins | A biomythography that explores the cross section between history, biography and myth that informs one's process of identity.

  • Heron Gate | dir. Stéphane Mukunzi, 8.5 mins | Two women organize to fight for the rights of a low-income neighbourhood at the heart of Canada's largest public eviction campaign.

  • Measure | dir. Karen Chapman, 9 mins | Nine-year-old Shane seems to be wandering the streets of Toronto alone, but he is on a secret mission that is too important to fail.

  • PICK | dir. Alicia Harris, 11 mins | A girl wears her afro to school and has to deal with the unexpected consequences.

  • Lagoon | dir. Christian Anderson, 11.5 mins | 16-year-old Lido and her brother must decide if leaving the security of their motel home is worth the sacrifice to take back control.

Summer Of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is a feature documentary about the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival which celebrated African American music and culture, and promoted Black pride and unity. (Movies, Films and Flix)

Educational videos highlighted by the Winnipeg Public Library:

Movies from Black Filmmakers:

  1. Summer Of Soul (...or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021) | Directed by Questlove | Documentary / Music | United States
    A look at the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which celebrated African American music and culture, and promoted Black pride and unity. *Available on Disney+
  2. Subjects of Desire (2021) | Directed by Jennifer Holness | Documentary | Canada
    A culturally significant, thought-provoking documentary that ultimately deconstructs what we understand about race and the power behind the beauty.

  3. The Guilty (2021) | Directed by Antoine Fuqua | Crime / Thriller | United States
    A demoted police officer assigned to a call dispatch desk is conflicted when he receives an emergency phone call from a kidnapped woman. *Available on Netflix

  4. Learn To Swim (2021) | Directed by Thyrone Tommy | Music / Drama | Canada
    Two contemporary jazz musicians develop a stormy and tragic romance.

  5. His House (2020) | Directed by Remi Weekes | Horror / Thriller | United States
    As a young couple from war-torn South Sudan seeks asylum and a fresh start in England, they're tormented by a sinister force living in their new home. *Available on Netflix

  6. One of Ours (2021) | Directed by Yasmine Mathurin | Documentary | Canada
    After a Haitian-born youth is racially profiled at an Indigenous basketball tournament, he wrestles with his shaken sense of belonging in his Indigenous adoptive family while attempting to heal from his past.

  7. Crazy World (2014 / 2020 CUFF Selection) | Directed by Nabwana I.G.G. | Action | Uganda
    The latest Wakaliwood release, Crazy World is a violent action-packed Ugandan film about a gang of child-snatching mobsters called the Tiger Mafia.

  8. Residue (2020) | Directed by Merawi Gerima | Drama | United States
    A young filmmaker returns home after many years away, to write a script about his childhood, only to find his neighborhood unrecognizable and his childhood friends being scattered to the wind.
    *Available on Netflix

  9. Candyman (2021) Directed by Nia DaCosta | Horror / Thriller | United States
    A sequel to the horror film Candyman (1992) that returns to the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood where the legend began. *Available on Apple TV and Crave

  10. Zola (2020) Directed by Janicza Bravo | Comedy / Crime / Drama | United States
    A stripper named Zola embarks on a wild road trip to Florida. *Available on Apple TV and Netflix

(This list is courtesy of the The Calgary Underground Film Festival.)

Movies and TV series on CBC Gem

The Porter follows the journeys of an ensemble of characters who hustle, dream, cross borders and pursue their ambitions in the fight for liberation - on and off the railways that crossed North America. (CBC Gem)
  • VOICE OF FREEDOM | Documentary | Feb. 1

    On Easter Sunday, 1939, contralto Marian Anderson stepped up to a microphone in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Inscribed on the walls of the monument behind her were the words "all men are created equal." Barred from performing in Constitution Hall because of her race, Anderson would sing for the American people in the open air. VOICE OF FREEDOM interweaves Anderson's rich life story with this landmark moment in history, exploring fundamental questions about talent, race, fame, democracy, and the American soul.

  • THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUR SONG | Documentary | Feb. 1

    An intimate four-hour series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Finding Your Roots), THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUR SONG explores the 400-year-old story of the black church in America, the changing nature of worship spaces, and the men and women who shepherded them from the pulpit, the choir loft, and church pews.
  • THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION | Documentary | Feb. 1

    In the turbulent 1960s, change was coming to America and the fault lines could no longer be ignored — cities were burning, Vietnam was exploding, and disputes raged over equality and civil rights. A new revolutionary culture was emerging and it sought to drastically transform the system. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change. THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION is the first feature-length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for Black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails.
  • BLACK BOYS | Documentary | Feb. 1
    *Exclusive Canadian Premiere

    BLACK BOYS illuminates the full humanity of Black men and boys in America. An intimate, inter-generational exploration, BLACK BOYS strives for insight to Black identity and opportunity at the nexus of sports, education, and criminal justice. Speaking with an array of figures — ranging from educators, athletes, journalists, activists, parents, and youth — the documentary explores the body, mind, voice, and heart of Black boys and the double edged sword of having to build up their own self worth while knowing the world is not built for them. 

    (CBC Gem)
  • MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE | Documentary | Feb. 1

    This unprecedented film weaves Maya Angelou's (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings) words with rare and intimate archival photographs and videos, which paint hidden moments of her exuberant life during some of America's most defining moments. From her upbringing in the Depression-era South to her work with Malcolm X in Ghana to her poetry reading for President Bill Clinton's inauguration, the film takes us on an incredible journey through the life of a true American icon. 
  • I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO | Documentary | Feb. 1

    I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO envisions the book James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time) never finished, a radical narration about race in America, using the writer's original words, as read by actor Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction). Alongside a flood of rich archival material, the film draws upon Baldwin's notes on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. to explore and bring a fresh and radical perspective to the racial narrative in America.
  • THE PORTER | Drama | Feb. 21
    *Exclusive Canadian Premiere

    Set in the early 1920s and inspired by real events, THE PORTER follows train porters Junior Massey and Zeke Garrett, Junior's wife Marlene, and upstart performer Lucy, as a tragedy in the community sets them on starkly different paths to a better life. While Junior takes advantage of a broken system to pursue money and power in gambling and bootlegging, Zeke fights the railway to change the system from within by unionizing the Black porters. Marlene questions whether her work as a Black Cross nurse is truly serving her community, while Lucy takes her success into her own hands – whatever the cost.  As each pursues their goals, their once unbreakable bonds are stretched to their limits. Will they need to betray each other and their community to make their dreams reality?
  • ALL THE STREETS ARE SILENT: THE CONVERGENCE OF HIP HOP & SKATEBOARDING | Documentary | Feb. 21

    The culture-shifting collision of hip hop and skateboarding is thoroughly and passionately unpacked in this dynamic new documentary from Montreal-born director Jeremy Elkin (Call Me Caitlyn), a seasoned skate-video maker. Narrated by Eli Morgan Gesner (Condemned), co-founder of the iconic NYC skateboarding company Zoo York, ALL THE STREETS ARE SILENT zeroes in on a pivotal chapter in New York history, 1987 to 1997, when Manhattan's cauldron of youth-led subcultures married hip hop with skateboarding and gave birth to a potent (and profitable) "street culture" movement that infiltrated every urban corner of the globe.
  • CARGO | Drama | Feb. 25
    *Exclusive Canadian Premiere

    Swept up into the global human trafficking epidemic, a mother must fight to find her family's freedom. CARGO tells the story of the international refugee crisis, spanning multiple perspectives and geographical borders, and the dark world of those who profit from it.
  • On CBC Listen

    Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe hosts The Block on CBC Music weekdays from 7 to 9 p.m. (Steve Carty)

    The Block is music of Black origin encompassing a fluid mosaic of styles. The Block is about culture and community. Repping the elements of hip hop from its roots to its far reaching influence. Listen weekdays from 7 to 9 p.m..

    Frequencies is a weekly one-hour show hosted by Errol Nazareth. Audiences will be tuning in to music from around the world and here in Canada with stories that revolve around the experiences of Canadians of colour and immigrants who are maintaining and adapting their culture. In other words, finding their new frequencies. Listen Tuesdays 6 to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 4 to 5 p.m..

    Follow host Odario Williams as he fills your nights with music. Each weeknight Afterdark's musical journey leads off with popular contemporary hits. As the night unfolds you'll discover new sounds ranging from art-pop to avant-garde. Listen weekdays from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

    CBC's Black On The Prairies Playlist:

    Experience the Prairies through music created by the top Black artists hailing from Wild Rose Country, The Land of the Living Skies and Friendly Manitoba. Hear Ruth B, Super Duty Tough Work, Nuela Charles, JayWood and more on the Black On The Prairies Playlist.


    Books to read

    Dear black girls by Shanice Nicole and Kezna Dals is one of the children’s storybooks promoted in the Winnipeg Public Library’s Info Guide. (Winnipeg Public Library)

    The Winnipeg Public Library featured the books below on their Black History homepage

    Literature:

    Children's Books:

    McNally Robinson Booksellers also provides a Black Voices reading list here

    From CBC Books:

    CBC Books is highlighting seven Black Canadian writers to watch in 2022.

    In the classroom

    15 people share their stories about life on the Prairies as Black folks. Read more at cbc.ca/blackontheprairies. (CBC Graphics)

    If you're a teacher or educator looking for classroom content for Black History Month, CBC's educational portal Curio.ca has released a new Black on the Prairies teacher's guide. For the month of February, the teacher's guide is available for free.

    Want more?

    (CBC)

    What does it mean to be Black in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba? It is impossible to limit more than 200 years of recorded Black presence on the Prairies to a single definition. Black on the Prairies began as a multiplatform project led by CBC senior reporter Omayra Issa and CBC radio host Ify Chiwetelu. Through audio, video and online formats, Black on the Prairies explores the history and present lives of Black people on the Prairies through their triumphs and challenges, and places their contributions at the very centre of the Prairie narrative as part of the Canadian story.

    Check out CBC's Being Black in Canada. It focuses on the diverse stories and experiences of Black Canadians and a breadth of content including news, documentaries, arts and other programming.


    Have an event or resource to add? Email us at communications.winnipeg@cbc.ca.

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