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It’s Black History Month — Here Are Some Ways To Get Involved
February 1, 2014
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(Image: Canada Post)

Every February, people across Canada and the U.S. celebrate Black History Month. It's an opportunity to shine a light on important figures and events in the history of the African diaspora, and celebrate the contributions of black Canadians to our history.

Each year, Canada Post releases a pair of stamps commemorating some aspect of black Canadian history. This year's stamps, which you can see above, celebrate two historic neighbourhoods with strong ties to black communities: Vancouver's Hogan's Alley and Halifax's Africville, both of which were mostly dismantled in the 1960s and '70s. (For more on Africville, see this Something You Might Not Know About Canada segment from Maestro Fresh Wes.)

All across the country, people are organizing workshops, film screenings, readings and exhibitions to celebrate the month. Here's a selection of what's going on:

  • In Vancouver, Caravan World Rhythms is hosting a concert On Feb. 8 at Performance Works called Roots and Branches, which celebrates traditional and modern music from Ghana, Zimbabwe, Guinea, and Senegal. Find out more »
  • Edmonton's Jubilee Auditorium will host the city's Annual Black History Month Concert on Feb. 8, featuring a slate of gospel singers and choirs. Find out more »
  • Filmmaker Charles Officer and Reel Canada are launching a tour from Montreal to Calgary of screenings of Mighty Jerome, Officer's 2010 documentary about the Canadian track star Harry Jerome, who competed for Canada in the 1946 Summer Olympic Games. Find out more »
  • The Toronto Public Library is putting on a wide range of events at branches across the city, including readings, musical performances and even a workshop on tracing your heritage if you have ancestors of African descent who lived in the British West Indies. Find out more »
  • On Feb. 22, the Black Law Students Association of the University of Ottawa and RevWord Productions are mounting Speaking Black Hockey, a spoken word showcase celebrating black Canadian contributions to our national winter sport. Find out more »
  • On Feb. 14, St. John, New Brunswick's Imperial Theatre will host Your History Can Begin Today In Black & White, a free event that mixes dance and poetry to tell stories against the backdrop of historical facts on local black history. Find out more »
  • The Underground Comedy Railroad, a tour of black Canadian comedians, is making stops across Canada during February, from Toronto to Victoria and back. Find out more »
  • The National Film Board has compiled a slate of its films that tell stories about different black communities in Canada, all of which can be watched online for free. Find out more »
  • Many of the Black History Month celebrations in Montreal this year honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela, including Long Walk To Freedom, an exhibit about the South African leader's life and works. Find out more »
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