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 happening in 2019.)

The Bridge by Shauntay Grant - Tuesday, January 22 - Wednesday, January 30

An exploration of faith, family and forgiveness.
Set in a rural Black Nova Scotian community, The Bridge explores the complexities of a relationship between two brothers strained over 20 years of secrecy, sin and shame. Secrets are revealed one by one from the brothers themselves, as well as a trio of community gossips who provide the musical backdrop for this gospel-infused tale.

Location: Neptune Theatre - Fountain Hall (1593 Argyle Street)

Show Times:
Tuesday to Friday - 7:30pm
Saturday and Sunday - 2pm & 7:30pm
*Please Note: There is no Sunday evening performance on Sun Feb 10

Key Dates:
January 22 - Pay What You Can
January 25 - Opening Night
January 29 - Industry Night
January 30 - Talkback Night

More Information:

HRM Flag Raising Ceremony - Friday, February 1

Raising of the Pan African Flag with special presentation by Dr. Afua Cooper, Halifax’s Poet Laureate and performance by 13 years old, Zoe Tolliver

Location: Grand Parade Halifax

Time: 10AM

Cost: FREE-Public Event

Organized By: African Nova Scotia Affairs intergration Office (ANSAIO)

African Drumming Workshop with Dr. Henry Bishop - Saturday, February 2

The TD Halifax Jazz Festival celebration of African Heritage Month begins with African Drumming Jazz Labs. Learn rhythms and grooves with Artist, Musician, Educator, and Humanitarian, Dr. Henry Bishop. Since 2015, Dr. Bishop has lead a unique African Drumming youth program at West Hants Middle School. Perfect for children, this fun-filled workshop is designed so that everyone will learn to play percussion instruments together.

Location: Alderney Gate Public Library (60 Alderney Dr, Dartmouth

Time: 11:30am - 12:30pm

FREE, open to all ages

Dalhousie's African Heritage Month Launch - Monday, February 4

Join us for the launch of African Heritage Month and to honor trailblazers in our community. Flag raising to follow.

Music | Food | African Drumming

Location: Council Chambers, Student Union Building (6136 University Ave.)

Time: 12:00pm – 2:00pm

Truro African Heritage Month Launch - Monday, February 4

Town of Truro African Heritage Month Launch.

Location: Town Hall Council Chambers; 695 Prince St. Truro

Time: 12:00pm

Cost: FREE-Public Event

Organized By: Black Educators Association & Town of Truro

Agricultural Campus Flag Raising - Monday, February 4

Join Dalhousie's Agricultural campus community as we raise the flag in the centre of campus!

Location: Centennial Amphitheatre, near the MacRae Library

Time: 2:00pm

Racial Apartheid & Black Freedom Struggles in Nova Scotia & South Africa: resources in the Lynn Jones Collection (Exhibit) - Monday, February 4 - Thursday, February 28

The Saint Mary's University Archives, Patrick Power Library, and Department of Social Justice & Community Studies present, for African Heritage Month, a Month-long Exhibit (Feb.4th-28th) using Lynn Jones African-Canadian & Diaspora Heritage Collection materials to explore overlaps, intersections, and variations in Black freedom struggles, institutionalized racism, apartheid, and white supremacy in Nova Scotia and South Africa.

Location: Patrick Power Library 1st floor; Saint Mary's University; 923 Robie Street

Time: Exhibit open during library hours, February 4 - 28

Organized By: Dept. of Social Justice & Community Studies Saint Mary's University

Black History Month Trivia - Thursday, February 7

In celebration of African Heritage Month, the Imhotep's Learning Community (ILC) will provide light refreshments and prizes as part of their inaugural "Black History Month Trivia" event.  This ILC event is open to high school and university students studying in any discipline at any educational institution.
We are anticipating a fun time and we hope you will join us!

Location: 1360 Barrington St., Room J134, Main Level of the Sexton Gymnasium

Time: 6:30pm

Additional Information: The purpose of Imhotep’s Learning Community (ILC) is to create a community of African Nova Scotian and Indigenous learners who support each other through the academic processes at Dalhousie University.

Pizza, Prizes, Printing 3D - Friday, February 8

Join Imhotep's Legacy Academy in celebrating our Black identity through 3D printing.
Contact Information:
Asher Trim-Gaskin, ILA Program Manager. phone: 902-494-4037 ; email:

Location: 1360 Barrington Street, Room J134 (ILA Learning Centre)

Time: 4:00pm

Black Research Symposium - Friday, February 8 and Saturday, February 9

The first annual Black Research Symposium!
Black students are underrepresented at the graduate level of academia; our hope through showcasing current Black scholars, of multiple disciplines, is to encourage current Black students to pursue graduate studies. This event is to help address the many obstacles within the pursuit of reaching Masters and PhD level education and to provide a means of support in helping navigate the process for students. Not only do we hope to showcase and encourage academia, we also would like to feature the work from other organizations.

Location: 6101 University Avenue; Kenneth Rowe Building

Dates and Time: February 8 - February 9

Partners and Collaborators: The Health Association of African Canadians – Student Organization (HAAC-SO), Atlantic Association of Black Aspiring Physicians (AABAP), and Community of Black Student Nurses (CBSN) in collaboration with Promoting Leadership in Health for African Nova Scotians (PLANS).  

More Information:

Tracing My Roots to the Black Loyalists - Saturday, February 9

In memory of his grandfather, the late Sgt. George "Buster" Barton (1917-1995), Mr. Allister Barton traced his family tree to the Black Pioneers Corps (a non-combat military group during the American War of Independence), and Black Loyalists of Brinley Town (a former Black settlement in Digby, NS).
Join the journey of his Barton lineage and explore a 250-year-old mystery that will bring Allister's family tree to life.

Location: Sackville Public Library; 636 Sackville Drive; Lower Sackville NS

Time: 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Organized By: Sackville Public Library

Black Women in Leadership: Fighting for Change - Monday, February 11

The Dalhousie Black Student Advising Centre presents Senator Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard as she shares her success story, challenges as a social worker, teacher, an activist and current experience as a senator and how she has used these positions to combat racism and to advance the interest of people of African descent.

Location: Council Chambers, 2nd floor, Student Union Building  

Time: 6:00pm - 8:00pm

More Information:

African Canadian Women doing Business in our Community - Monday, February 11

This event is the 5th Annual partnership between the Black and Immigrant Women's Network, Ashanti Leadership & PDS, and Halifax Central Library Celebrating, "African Canadian Women doing Business in our Community."
This year we will be honouring the achievements of Cynthia Dorrington, CEO, Vale Associates and, Chair Halifax Chamber of Commerce. This year Cynthia became the first woman of African descent and first African Nova Scotian to hold this position. The Halifax Chamber of Commerce is the oldest business institution in North America with over 280 years of history. We are proud that Cynthia Dorrington is in this role. She has demonstrated leadership skills, served on several boards and is a savvy businesswoman both nationally and internationally. A phenomenal woman who shares some unique similarities to Viola Desmond. They have placed New Glasgow on the international stage this year. Cynthia is a great example for women of colour and women generally.
The evening will take the form of a Fireside conversation with Cynthia sharing insights about her journey to success. There will be a keynote speaker, entertainment, refreshments and networking. Come and join us for this historic evening.

Location: Paul O’Regan Hall; Halifax Central Library

Time: 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Organized By: Black and Immigrant Women Network

Racial Apartheid & Black Freedom Struggles in Nova Scotia & South Africa: resources in the Lynn Jones Collection (Panel Event) - Tuesday, February 12

The Saint Mary's University Archives, Patrick Power Library, and Department of Social Justice & Community Studies present, for African Heritage Month, a Panel Event using Lynn Jones African-Canadian & Diaspora Heritage Collection materials and community engagement to explore overlaps, intersections, and variations in Black freedom struggles, institutionalized racism, apartheid, and white supremacy in Nova Scotia and South Africa.
The Panel will be held Tues. Feb. 12th, 630-8pm, with researcher & filmmaker Francesca Ekwuyasi, Social Justice Strategist, Songwriter and Educator Delvina Bernard, South African writer and scholar Gugu Hlongwane, and community educator, leader and activist Dr. Lynn Jones (courtesy of the Global African Congress, Nova Scotia Chapter).

Location: Patrick Power Library; Room 135; Saint Mary's University; 923 Robie Street

Time: 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Organized By: Dept. of Social Justice & Community Studies Saint Mary's University

The Hate U Give - Wednesday, February 13

The Health Association of African Canadians in partnership with the Black Cultural Centre, invite you to a free screening of The Hate U Give.

Location: Halifax North Memorial Public Library; 2285 Gottingen St

Time: 6:00pm

Organized By: : Health Association of African Canadians and The Black Cultural Centre

Lift Every Voice 4: African Heritage Month Musical Showcase - Wednesday, February 13

It’s back! Lift Every Voice is ready for its 4th annual Gala performance night. The African Nova Scotian Music Association is proud to present another line-up of stars from our African Nova Scotian music community.

Location: Paul O’Regan Hall; Halifax Central Library

Time: 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Organized By: TD presents African Heritage Month at Halifax Public Libraries

Heart Songs: Chudi Harris with Guests - Thursday, February 14

'Contemporary Blues' captures the genre bend of artist-producer Chudi Harris - from synth laced R&B, to alternative, to soulful and bluesy rock. With three records and five single releases to his name,  Harris has taken his distinct sound and unique live performance experience around Atlantic and Central Canada.

Location: Halifax North Public Library, 2285 Gottingen St

Time: 7:30pm 8:30pm

FREE event, open to all ages

Soirée Africaine/ African Party - Friday, February 15

Dans le cadre du mois du patrimoine africain. Immigration Francophone de la Nouvelle Écosse, organise une soirée africaine le 15 février à 18h à l'Église Mosaic, pour relier les néo-africains écossés avec les immigrants africains francophones et anglophones.

Location: Mosaic Church Halifax; 28 Willet Street; Halifax

Time: 6:00pm

Organized By: Immigration Francophone de la N-É

“R” is for Reparations: Young activists speak their truth - Saurday, February 23

Hot off the press! Be there for  the results of our book - in-a-day venture.
Join the Global Afrikan Congress-NS Chapter and  Halifax Municipality children authors as they unveil and read from the First ever children's book on Reparations for Afrikan people they created last year during AHM.
National and international guests will also be present to witness the first published book on Reparations for Afrikan people from a child's perspective.

Location: Halifax North Memorial Public Library; 2285 Gottingen St

Time: 10:00am

Organized By: Global Afrikan Congress-Nova Scotia Chapter

Jah'Mila with guitarist Adrian Dunn - Sunday Feb 24

Closing out the TD Halifax Jazz Festival February Jazz Labs African Heritage Month shows is Jah’Mila with guitarist Adrian Dunn. Hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, but now calling Halifax home, Jah’Mila is wrapped in the very roots of the Jamaican Reggae family tree. She is a sure musical prodigy in the making, with infectious music that is lyrically creative, tastefully arranged, masterfully delivered and positively inspiring.

Location: Alter Egos Cafe, 2193 Gottingen St.

Time: 1:00pm - 2:00pm

FREE, open to all ages.

Monday Mingle Discussion on Environmental Racism with Guest Speaker Dr. Ingrid Waldron - Monday, February 25

The Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office presents Monday Mingles! This event provides students and community members the opportunity to meet people and have intersectional discussions around sustainability.
On February 25th our Monday Mingle will include a presentation on environmental racism in Nova Scotia by Dr. Ingrid Waldron focusing on Black and Indigenous communities.
Ingrid Waldron, PhD. is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University, the Co-Chair of Dalhousie’s Black Faculty & Staff Caucus, and the Director of the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project). In June 2018, Ingrid was awarded Dalhousie University President’s Research Excellence Award – Research Impact.
Ingrid’s scholarship is driven by a long-standing interest in looking at the many ways in which spaces and communities are organized by structures of colonialism and gendered racial capitalism. Her research, teaching, and community leadership and advocacy work are examining and addressing the relationship between histories of colonization in Indigenous, Black, and other racialized communities, state-sanctioned racial and gendered violence within health, education, employment, child welfare, environment, and criminal justice, and their impacts on health and well-being in Indigenous, Black, immigrant, refugee, and other racialized communities in Nova Scotia and Canada.
The ENRICH Project is investigating the socio-economic and health effects of environmental racism in Mi’kmaw and African Nova Scotian communities across Nova Scotia. The project formed the basis to the creation of Bill 111: An Act to Address Environmental Racism in 2015.
Her first book There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities was released in April 2018 by Fernwood Publishing.


Time: Monday February 25, 5-7pm 

Location: Room 307 Dalhousie Student Union Building

Pier 21 Reads: Cecil Foster's They Call Me George - Tuesday, February 26

Canada’s Black train porters were a familiar sight, yet their minority status rendered them politically invisible. It was their struggle against the Dominion that laid the groundwork for the multicultural nation we know today.
Drawing on the experiences of these influential individuals, They Call Me George The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada demonstrates the power of minority groups in the fight for social justice and shows how a country can change for the better.
This Black History Month, the Museum welcomes Cecil Foster to discuss his experience writing They Call Me George and read excerpts.

Location: Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Time: 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Organized By: Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Discomfort in Multiple Spaces and Encounters (Panel Event) - Wednesday, February 27

'Discomfort' is an often silent but present conversation/experience in multiple spaces and encounters as we interact with communities, institutions, spaces and persons. Our panellists - Wendie L. Poitras; Barbara Hamilton-Hinch​; Mario Rolle​; Aisha Abawajy​ and Devon ​Bundy - will explore discomfort to understand, how it is defined, how it happens and how it is addressed. Conversations will follow the panel discussion and you will be presented with the bio of our panellists at the venue.​
Registration is not required to attend this event. However, you may need to arrive early to be sure of a spot. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.
Contact - Chair of the Diversity and Equity Committee (DEC): Ifeyinwa Mbakogu,

Location: Room 3111, Mona Campbell Building, 1459 LeMarchant Street

Time: 5:30PM

Partners and Collaborators: Diversity and Equity Committee (DEC), School of Social Work, Dalhousie University.

Ingrid Waldron Book Reading - Wednesday, February 27

Dr. Ingrid Waldron will read from and discuss her book There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities. Using Nova Scotia as a case study and colonialism as the overarching theory, she examines the legacy of environmental racism and its health impacts in Indigenous and Black communities in Canada. Dr. Waldron is an Associate Professor at Dalhousie's School of Nursing.
Books will be available for purchase. All are welcome.

Location: Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building, Room 3089, 6100 University Avenue

Time: 6:00pm

Partners and Collaborators: Dalhousie Libraries & Fernwood Publishing

Connect: African Heritage Month Student Mixer - Wednesday, February 27

Join HRES Peer Educators in closing African Heritage Month 2019 with a bang!
Calling all students of African descent: let's connect over some interactive games and activities, food, and music and find ways to stay connected throughout the year.
There will be some fun ice-breaker games, mural painting, a DJ workshop, and more! We can't wait to connect with you.

Location: The Black Student Advising Centre, 1321 Edward St. BSAC is physically accessible via a ramp at the front entrance.

Time: 7:30 - 9:30PM

Event notes: This event is taking place on the ancestral, unceded, and unsurrendured Territory of the Mi’kmaq People. We are all Treaty People and have responsibilities to each other and this land. (More info on the Peace and Friendship Treaties:

African Nova Scotian Panel Event - Thursday, February 28

Race Relations, Black Experience and the Future of Municipal Government

Keynote: Raymond Tynes – Former Councillor and Mayoral Candidate from Truro
Késa Munroe-Anderson – Manager, Race Relations Human Rights Commission
Shakira Weatherdon – Equity and Inclusion Consultant, NSCC
Carolann Wright-Parks – Director Community Economic Development and Strategic Engagement (Halifax Partnership)
Wayne Talbot – Councillor, Ward 1, Truro
Moderator: Councillor Lindell Smith – District 8, Halifax Peninsula.
Please note that RSVP is required for the Panel Event due to limited space at City Hall. Email to reserve your space or for more information.

Location: Halifax City Hall

Time: 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Organized By: African Nova Scotia Affairs intergration Office (ANSAIO)