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African Heritage Month

The commemoration of African Heritage Month can be traced back to 1926 when Harvard-educated Black historian, Carter G. Woodson, founded Negro History Week to recognize the achievements of African Americans. Woodson purposefully chose February for the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, both key figures in the emancipation of enslaved Blacks. In 1976, as part of the American Bicentennial celebrations, Negro History Week was expanded to Black History Month.  

The vast contributions of African-Canadians to Canadian society have been acknowledged informally since the early 1950s. However, Nova Scotia, particularly the Halifax Region, has been a leader in the promotion and awareness of African Heritage Month. Highlights of the development of Black History Month in Canada through the efforts of Nova Scotian trailblazers include the following:  

  • 1985   First “official” Opening Night for Black History Month (January 29) at the Halifax North Branch Library.
  • 1987   First meeting of the Black History Month Association
  • 1988   First Black History Month in Nova Scotia
  • 1996   Black History Month renamed to African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia

It is important to note that Nova Scotia and the Black History Month Association set the path for Canada in the recognition of African Heritage Month. Further, the significance of this influence as one of national proportion in the following occurrences compels recognition: 

  • 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.
  • February, 2008 - Nova Scotia Senator Donald Oliver, Q.C., the first Black man appointed to the Senate, introduced a motion to have the Senate officially declare February as Black History Month. The motion received unanimous approval.
  • March, 2008 - The adoption of Senator Oliver’s motion was the final parliamentary procedure needed for Canada’s permanent recognition of Black History Month.  

Source: Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs/ African Heritage Month Information Network

(The dates below reflect events that happened in 2017.)

Honouring African Heritage Month - Wednesday, February 1

In recognition of African Heritage Month, the Agricultural Campus will be flying the African Heritage Flag for the month of February. Please join us in the Amphitheatre as we raise the flag to honour the past and present legacies of African Nova Scotians.
Centennial Amphitheatre, Agricultural Campus; 2:00pm

Black Perspectives on Campus Speaker Series Part 1 - Wednesday, February 1

Join the Dalhousie Student Union as we explore the current realities for Black people on campus, look back at how we got here, and move forward to build a more just future for all of us. Conversations will be led by brilliant Black faculty, community members, and students. For our first panel, we are very excited to be joined by the brilliant:
Dr. Afua Cooper, James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies
El Jones, community activist, teacher, and former Poet Laureate
Nzingha Millar, BA International Development, currently studying Journalism at King's
Council Chambers, SUB, 6136 University Avenue; 5:00 - 7:00pm

Dalhousie's African Heritage Month Launch - Thursday, February 2

A kick-off event be held on Thursday, February 2 featuring the raising of the African Heritage flag. President Florizone will be present and all are welcomed to join him. The provincial theme for African Heritage Month is Passing the Torch … African Nova Scotians and the Next 150. The authors of the theme advise the Month is intended this year “to acknowledge the struggle and adversity the African Nova Scotians have endured over the generations” and “the significant contributions and impact on the development of the province and country as a whole”.
University Hall, MacDonald Building, 6300 Coburg Road; 12:00pm

Film Screening: Miles Ahead - Tuesday, February 7

Written, starring, and directed by Don Cheadle, Miles Ahead is a surprisingly fresh and funny drama is about an imaginary incident during jazz great Miles Davis’s five-year ‘retirement’, and sports an appearance by Ewan MacGregor as an intrusive music reporter.
Free admission, all welcome.
Dalhousie Art Gallery (6101 University Avenue); 5:00pm

Hidden Figures: Making the Invisible, Visible - Tuesday, February 7

If you've seen the movie Hidden Figures you will now know that African American women were central to NASA's efforts to put men into orbit and on the moon. Come meet a few of the 21st century hidden figures in Nova Scotia, and learn about a 13-yr old program that is catalyzing an exponential growth in the participation of African Nova Scotians in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Partners: NSCC, Dalhousie University, The Researchers of African (Black) Ancestry Network, Delmore 'Buddy' Date Learning Institute.
NSCC – IT Campus, Leeds St. Halifax, NS; 6:00 pm – 8:00pm

African People in Halifax: Embracing Our Diversity - Tuesday, February 7

The Black Student Advising Centre presents 3 Black men from a wide range of social locations and identities as they talk through story telling their experiences of struggle and coping with their identities. Through this interactive presentation and discussion, we hope our audience will leave with effective strategies to help us more fully embrace our diversity as African people.
Dalhousie Student Union Building, 6136 University Avenue; 6:00 - 8:00pm

Black Perspectives on Campus Speaker Series Part 2 - Wednesday, February 8

Join the Dalhousie Student Union as we explore the current realities for Black people on campus, look back at how we got here, and move forward to build a more just future for all of us. Conversations will be led by brilliant Black faculty, community members, and students.
Panel TBD
Council Chambers, SUB, 6136 University Avenue; 12:00 - 1:00pm

Yes, you CAN! Be a doctor! - POSTPONED

Promoting Leadership in health for African Nova Scotians (PLANS) and Health Association of African Canadians – Student Organization (HAAC-SO) will host an information session for those of African descent who are interested in medical school. Whether you are in year 1 of your undergrad or wrapping up your degree, this session will help you in your journey to medical school. Meet current African Nova Scotian and African Canadian medical students who will share their experiences of preparing for and getting into medical school. Food will be provided.

Film Screening: Bessie - Tuesday, February 14

Bessie: with Queen Latifah in the title role as Bessie Smith and Mo’Nique as Ma Rainey, this rich costume drama bio-pic looks at the early days of the Blues. Directed by the filmmaker who helmed the breakout indie hit Pariah, Dee Rees.
Free admission
Dalhousie Art Gallery (6101 University Avenue); 5:00pm

Black Perspectives on Campus Speaker Series Part 3 - Wednesday, February 15

Join the Dalhousie Student Union as we explore the current realities for Black people on campus, look back at how we got here, and move forward to build a more just future for all of us. Conversations will be led by brilliant Black faculty, community members, and students.
Panel TBD
Council Chambers, SUB, 6136 University Avenue; 5:00 - 7:00pm

Let’s Talk Microaggressions - POSTPONED

Promoting Leadership in health for African Nova Scotians (PLANS) and Health Association of African Canadians will host a discussion on microaggressions, what they are, and how to respond. Light refreshments provided. 

The Health Effects of Environmental Racism - Thursday, February 16

The Dal Med GHI will be hosting a talk by Dr. Ingrid Waldron on the Health Effects of Environmental Racism.
Sir Charles Tupper Building - Tupper Complex 2L7; 4:30-6:00pm

Film Screening: Hidden Figures - Thursday, February 16

In celebration of Black History Month, the Dalhousie Science Society, the Dalhousie Student Union, Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group and South House have teamed up to put on a screening of Hidden Figures for Dalhousie Students.
Hidden Figures is the incredible untold story the brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.
Contact Katie Douglas for ticket details: katie.douglas@dal.ca

Cineplex Park Land, 5657 Spring Garden Rd; 6:15pm

Roles of Black Women in Social Economic Developments: In the Past and Presently - Friday, February 17

Join Dalhousie's African Student’s Association and Dal After Dark for a panel discussion participated by the Dalhousie community to discuss the roles black women played in social economic developments. These are not limited to discussions about Rosa Parks, WORK, Black Lives Matter and women within our community.
Collaborative Health Education Building, 5793 University Avenue: 6:00 - 7:30pm

Film Screening: Cadillac Records - Tuesday, February 21

Cadillac Records: Etta James. Chuck Berry. Howlin’ Wolf. Bo Diddley. Muddy Waters. Sonny Boy Williamson. They all recorded with Chess Records in Chicago in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s and this is their story, a tale that changed music forever.
Free admisssion.
Dalhousie Art Gallery (6101 University Avenue): 5:00pm

Open Lecture: African Nova Scotian History, Dr. Isaac Saney - Tuesday, February 28

Dr. Isaac Saney will provide an open lecture, African Nova Scotian History (CANA/HIST2280), to the Dalhousie community. This lecture is part of the new course offering on African Nova Scotian history.
Read the DalNews feature to learn more (https://www.dal.ca/news/2016/12/16/exploring-the-black-experience-in-nova-scotia.html)
Theatre C, Tupper Building, 5850 College Street; 3:35 - 4:55pm  

Open Lecture: Inclusion & Diversity, Dr. Barb Hamilton-Hinch - Thursay, March 2

Dr. Barb Hamilton-Hinch will provide an open lecture, Inclusion & Diversity (LEIS4701), to the Dalhousie community on the topic of inclusion and diversity in recreation and leisure. The class explores racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism and the impact on the lives of individuals.
Theatre B, Tupper Medical Building; 2:35 - 3:55pm

Remember Africville - March 31

Join members of the Dalhousie Community for a tour of the Africville Museum. Following the tour there will be a free lunch and a traditional storytelling circle on Studley campus. This event is held in partnership between Global Health Office and Human Rights & Equity Services.
For more information about the Africville Museum, please visit the Africville Museum website.
Space is limited so please send an RSVP to jackie.dowling@dal.ca
Africville Museum (5795 Africville Rd)