February is Black History Month, and you are invited to browse Red River College Library materials that celebrate black Canadians, and their experiences, stories, achievements and contributions.
In 1946, a Black Halifax businesswoman, Viola Desmond, was wrongfully arrested for sitting in a white’s-only section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. In 2010, sixty-four years later, the Nova Scotia government recognized this gross miscarriage of justice and posthumously granted her a free pardon. Most Canadians are aware of Rosa Parks, the American civil rights icon who refused to give up her seat on a racially segregated bus in Alabama, but Viola Desmond’s similar act of courage in resisting the practice of racial segregation occurred nine years before this historic event. However, today, even after the Nova Scotia Government’s unprecedented pardon of Desmond, many Canadians are still unaware of her story or that racial segregation existed throughout many parts of Canada during most of the twentieth century.
Did slavery exist in Montreal, and if so what did it look like? Frank Mackey grapples with this question in Done with Slavery, a study of black Montrealers in the eighty years between the British Conquest and the union of Lower and Upper Canada. Through close examination of archival and contemporary sources, Mackey uncovers largely unknown aspects of the black transition from slavery to freedom. While he considers the changing legal status of slavery, much of the book provides a detailed and nuanced reconstruction of the circumstances of black Montrealers and their lived experience. The resulting picture is remarkably complex, showing the variety of occupations held by blacks, the relationships they had with those they served, their encounters with the judicial and political systems, and the racial mingling that came with intermarriage and apprenticeships.
For researchers seeking detailed information about the black diaspora in North America, this authoritative reference provides more than 300 years of black Canadian history, from the first migration of slaves, black loyalists, and Civil War refugees to the expansive movement brought about by the establishment of the point system in 1967. Venturing beyond established orthodoxies and simplistic solutions to discuss contentious ethno-racial problems in Canada, this critique addresses housing, the labor market, sports management, and race and ethnic relations. This new edition expands the regional coverage of black history, updates all the statistics with the 2006 census data, and adds important new material on multiculturalism and employment equity.
February is Black History Month in Canada, which provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of black Canadians and reflect on the stories, experiences and accomplishments of Canada’s black community. To mark this occasion, Curio.ca has pulled together a selection of resource guides, videos and audio series that honour black history in Canada. (RRC Login is required to view this resource)
To celebrate the history of Black Canadians, The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has selected a group of films that portray the multi-layered lived experience of Canada’s diverse Black communities. The incredible stories of strength, courage and perseverance in the face of adversity that these films present are not often found in mainstream history books. Black communities and cultures have been part of Canadian history from its earliest days, but sadly, their contributions and the lessons they can teach are rarely studied at the elementary or secondary level in schools. (RRC Login is required to view this resource)