Monday, 1 February 2016

February is African Heritage Month

In 1926 Negro History week was established. An idea conceived by African-American Carter G. Woodson, to set aside a time devoted to African -Americans and African-American history. He chose a week in February because that month contained the birthdates of two people credited with bringing and end to American slavery:  black abolitionist,  Frederick Douglass and American President, Abraham Lincoln. Over time the celebration expanded and became known as Black History Month.

In 1950, Toronto railroad porters were the first to celebrate the idea in Canada. the porters had learned of this celebration in their travels in the United States. It was not until the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) petitioned the city of Toronto  to have February proclaimed Black History Month by 1979, that the celebration started to trickle to other communities. The OBHS then  successfully lobbied the federal government to have February declared as Black History Month and  in 1995, after a motion by politician Jean Augustine, representing the riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore in Ontario, Canada's House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month. In 2008, a motion by Nova Scotia Senator Donald Oliver to have the Senate officially recognize Black History Month, was unanimously approved. In December 2014 the United Nations declared the next ten years to be the Decade for People of African Descent with the theme: Justice, recognition and development.

  The 2016 theme for African Heritage Month  in Canada is  The Black Battalion: Legacy of Commitment - They Fought to Fight, to honour the 100th anniversary of the No. 2 Construction Battalion.  The members of the Black Battalion had to fight to fight. Raised in 1916 in Nova Scotia, they were trailblazers in their struggle to break the colour barrier and  fight for freedom in the Great War. Because of their unwavering desire they paved the way for African Nova Scotians  to serve in the armed forces in the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Afghan War and peacekeeping in the Sinai, Cyprus, the Congo and many other conflict zones.

The No. 2 Construction battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force,
 was the first and only Black battalion on Canadian military history.
To celebrate Black History Month, Annapolis Valley Regional Library has compiled this booklist.

No comments:

Post a Comment