Black History Month 2017
February is Black History Month. Recognized in the U.S. and, more recently, the U.K. and Canada, it’s a month-long celebration of contributions to history and culture by citizens of African and Caribbean descent.
Every year, Canadians are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of black Canadians, past and present. Canadians take this time to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of black Canadians who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous nation it is today. During Black History Month Canadians can gain insight into the experiences of black Canadians and the vital role this community has played throughout our shared history.
Despite a presence in Canada that dates back farther than Samuel de Champlain’s first voyage down the St. Lawrence River, people of African descent are often absent from Canadian history books. There is little mention of the fact that slavery once existed in the territory that is now Canada, or that many of the Loyalists who came here after the American Revolution and settled in the Maritimes were Blacks. Few Canadians are aware of the many sacrifices made in wartime by black Canadian soldiers, as far back as the War of 1812.
In an attempt to heighten awareness of black history in the United States, historian Carter G. Woodson proposed an observance to honour the accomplishments of black Americans. This led to the establishment of Negro History Week in 1926. Woodson is believed to have chosen February for this observance because the birthdays of the renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass (February 14) and former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (February 12) fall in this month. During the early 1970s, the week became known as Black History Week. It was expanded into Black History Month in 1976. In December 1995, the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month, following a motion introduced by the first black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine.
Resources about Black History Month
Join the global conversation: #BlackHistoryMonth
Learn more about events around the Lower Mainland: Facebook.com/BlackHistoryMonthBC
If you’d like to add an event to this list send us an email.
Black History Month Celebration
Join Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver City Council in proclaiming February as Black History Month in the City of Vancouver, with a celebration of community and cultural performances.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017 | 5:30-6:30 pm
Light catered reception from 6:30-7:30 pm
Vancouver City Hall
453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4
Black History Month films at Vancity Theatre
Curated by Barbara Chirinos in partnership with VIFF Vancity Theatre, the annual Black History Month film series is a significant contribution to Vancouver’s cultural diversity, shining a spotlight on African-North American film and history. This year’s program encompasses music, political protest, spiritual, emotional and physical enterprise and endeavour.
The centrepiece of Black History Month at Vancity Theatre is the exclusive Vancouver premiere of the Academy Award-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro (screening from Feb 24), which links the lives of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Medgar Evers through the eyes of writer James Baldwin and filmmaker Raoul Peck. Other highlights include Julie Dash’s seminal Daughters of the Dust, the music films Mali Blues and Sign o the Times, and a new Canadian documentary about the untold history of black hockey players, Soul on Ice.
Daughters of the Dust
February 1, 2017 6:30pm
February 5, 2017 3:00pm
1181 Seymour St.
Vancouver, BC V6B 3M7
Revived in the wake of Beyonce’s Lemonade (which made no secret about finding its inspiration in Julie Dash’s magical 1991 debut feature), Daughters of the Dust captures a sad, thrilling moment of transformation for a community of Gullahs, who are the descendants of African slaves who lived on the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. On an August day in 1902, several generations of the Peazant family are preparing to move to the U.S. mainland, bidding farewell to their island home and the vibrant, uniquely African-influenced culture they’ve succeeded in keeping alive.
Director: Julie Dash
Learn more + tickets
Do Not Resist
The most shocking sequence in Craig Atkinson’s incendiary new film doesn’t take place on the streets of Ferguson, or in the middle of a SWAT raid – it happens in a hotel conference room during a presentation to police officers. “What do you fight violence with? Superior violence. Righteous violence. Violence is your tool … You are men and women of violence.”
Director: Craig Atkinson
Friday, February 10, 2017 | 7:00pm
1131 Howe St. Vancouver, B.C.
Tickets: $11 ($9 for students and seniors) – Order tickets
In honour of Black History Month, DOXA Documentary Film Festival and The Cinematheque are very proud to offer this encore screening for Vancouver audiences of Do Not Resist.
Black History Month reception – National Congress of Black Women Foundation
The National Congress of Black Women Foundation would like to invite you to celebrate Black History Month 2017 with us at their closing Reception and Ceremony.
Sunday 26th February 2017 | 5-9pm
PAL Theatre, 581 Cardero St., Vancouver
A festive evening of education, entertainment, food, and memorable speakers. Celebrating our 25th Anniversary and honouring the legacy of the first elected Black officials to the BC Legislature – Rosemary Brown and Emery Barnes.
Tickets for this event are $50 per person and can be purchased through Eventbrite or directly from the National Congress of Black Women Foundation by contacting Nalda on 604 605 0124 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org