Each year in February Canadians mark Black History Month, giving us the opportunity to celebrate the remarkable achievements of black Canadians from our country’s earliest days through to today.
This year is particularly poignant as it marks the 20th anniversary of the celebration of Black History Month. 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. The motion was carried unanimously by the House of Commons.
Since then, Canadians across the country have organized and taken part in countless events to recognize the many contributions of Canadians of African and Caribbean descent. We see the contributions in all parts of Canadian life, including business, politics, community service, sports, and the arts.
In recognition of Black History Month we celebrate the accomplishments of Canadians throughout history. This includes Canada’s new Poet Laureate, George Elliott Clarke, for his tireless efforts to promote the history of black Loyalists and abolitionists, and Richard Preston, a notable figure in Nova Scotia’s black history, whose arrival in Canada took place 200 years ago this year.
As Minister of Canadian Heritage, I encourage all Canadians to participate in the many celebrations that will take place across the country throughout February. I am honoured to be participating in the official launch of Black History Month on February 3 in Ottawa.
Canadians can explore the history and many stories on the Government of Canada’s Black History Month website, at http://www.Canada.ca/BlackHistoryMonth.