Every February, people in Canada are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians and their communities.
(All information is from the Government of Canada website)
Black history in Canada
Black people and their communities have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity since the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter, whose presence in Canada dates back to the early 1600s.
Black history in Canada has not always been celebrated or highlighted. There is little mention that some of the Loyalists who came here after the American Revolution and settled in the Maritimes were people of African descent, or of the many sacrifices made in wartime by soldiers of African descent as far back as the War of 1812.
Canadians are not always aware of the fact that Black people were once enslaved in the territory that is now Canada or how those who fought enslavement helped to lay the foundation of the diverse and inclusive society in Canada.
Black History Month is about honouring the enormous contributions that Black people have made, and continue to make, in all sectors of society. It is about celebrating resilience, innovation, and determination to work towards a more inclusive and diverse Canada—a Canada in which everyone has every opportunity to flourish.
Read the biographies of some notable Black individuals who have helped shape Canadian heritage and identity, and who have made and continue to make enormous contributions to all sectors of society in Canada.
Black history organizations and educational resources
There are many organizations and educational resources across the country devoted to the promotion and awareness of Black Canadian history. Below you can find some organizations and insightful resources.
- Amherstburg Freedom Museum
Previously known as 'the Black Museum', the Amherstburg Freedom Museum is a community-based, non-profit museum that tells the story of African-Canadians' journey and contributions, by preserving and presenting artifacts that educate and inspire.
- Black History Ottawa
Black History Ottawa is a registered Canadian charity with a mandate to advance education by increasing the public's knowledge and appreciation of, and by carrying out research in, the history, culture, traditions, and achievements of Canadians of African descent.
- Buxton National Historic Site & Museum
Founded on the original site of the Elgin Settlement that served as a terminus on the Underground Railroad for Black people fleeing oppression, Buxton National Historic Site & Museum's main purpose is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret historical artifacts related to the Elgin Settlement.
- Ontario Black History Society
The Ontario Black History Society is a non-profit registered Canadian charity dedicated to the study, preservation and promotion of Black history and heritage.
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site sits on part of the original property purchased in 1841 by abolitionist Josiah Henson and his supporters to establish a refuge for the many fugitives from slavery in the United States. It consists of an interpretive centre, three historic buildings, two cemeteries and numerous artifacts that were preserved as a legacy to these early pioneers.
- Slavery to Freedom
Explore an important chapter of Ontario's history through visits to the many Black heritage sites and museums across the province.