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History / World History

Black History Month - February

February is Black History month in Canada and the United States (the UK celebrates it in October), a time to learn about and celebrate Black history and culture.

"Black History Month grew out of Negro History Week, which was established in February 1926 by African-American historian Carter G. Woodson, who founded the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. Expanded in 1976 to a month-long observance, this celebration of the contributions and achievements of African Americans was initially designed to encompass the birthday of the abolitionist orator and journalist Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) on February 14 as well as Abraham LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY. The event is widely observed by schools, churches, libraries, clubs, and organizations wishing to draw attention to the contributions of African Americans." (Black history month. (2018). In P. Jaikumar (Ed.), Holidays around the world: detailing more than 3,400 observances from all 50 states and more than 100 nations. Retrieved from


Black History Month was established in 1996 in Canada: the motion to create it was raised in Parliament by the Hon. Jean Augustine, the first Black woman to be elected as an MP:

"That this House take note of the important contribution of black Canadians to the settlement, growth and development of Canada, the diversity of the black community in Canada and its importance to the history of this country, and recognize February as Black History Month." (source: Government of Canada)

Featured databases:

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Individual Titles & Series:

Birth of a MovementIn 1915, civil rights activist William Monroe Trotter waged a battle against D.W. Griffith's notoriously Ku Klux Klan-friendly blockbuster The Birth of a Nation, which unleashed a fight still raging today about race relations and representation, and the power and influence of Hollywood.

Dirt and Deeds in Mississippi Uncovers the largely unknown and pivotal role played by black landowning families in the Deep South who controlled more than a million acres in the 1960s.

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow - (4-part series) Emancipation ended slavery but only to replace it with an American form of apartheid, euphemistically known as Jim Crow, used to keep African Americans as second-class citizens. This four-part series constitutes a major cinematic achievement covering the years between Reconstruction and Civil Rights.

The Longest Struggle The History of the NAACP (4-part series) - This series looks at the many struggles that led to the creation of the NAACP.

The Book of Negroes - ( 6-part series) Based on the award-winning novel by Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes depicts the extraordinary life journey of Aminata Diallo, an indomitable African woman who cuts a swath through a world that is predisposed to underestimate her. Kidnapped by slave traders in West Africa and subsequently enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata must navigate her way through the American Revolution in New York, the isolated refuge given to Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia and the treacherous jungles of Sierra Leone, before ultimately securing her freedom in England at the dawn of the 19th century.

Roots - (DVD) / Roots - (Streaming Video) - An adaptation of Alex Haley's "Roots", in which Haley traces his African American family's history from the mid-18th century to the Reconstruction era.

America's Black Eagles (4-part series)  - This series examines all-Black units in the U.S. Army Air Corps and their successes and controversies.

Streaming Video Portals

Government of Canada - Biographies of notable Black Canadians, events in history, and organizations.

CBC - 23 Black Canadians you should know

BC Black History Awareness Society

Black History - Canada  An annotated guide to online resources on the history of Canada's Black community

National Film Board - 24 Films - The films in this playlist are some of the most important NFB films made on the black community and paint a picture of a thriving culture in constant evolution.

Africa Diaspora, PhD A blog dedicated to "the life and culture of people of African descent in Africa, Europe, and the Americas from the fifteenth century into the late nineteenth - the period of Atlantic slavery and slave trading".

ASALH - Association for the Study of African American Life and History

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