Reflecting on Black History Month

In the final days of Black History Month I am in a reflective mood. For me Black History Month has always been a time for introspection.www.whoswhoinblackcanada.com.

The Month is meant to be a time of discovery; to explore and celebrate the achievements of Black people in the ongoing process of nation-building in Canada (and elsewhere of course).

Over the years I have participated in Black History Month events — spoken to young people in schools, attended lectures, watched and enjoyed youngsters dance and sing, listened to politicians extol the virtues of being Black in Canada, and the list goes on.

This year, however, rather than finding answers, I am left with a few questions.

For example:

  • Why is it that so many people (including African-Canadians and those from the African Diaspora) still question the need for Black History Month?
  • Why is there no central place — a national museum for example — where all Canadians can see and learn about the incredible contribution that Black people have made to this country? Ironically, the best we have is an online interactive museum at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/games/museum/flash/flash-game.asp.
  • Beyond the many posters, events and pronouncements; in an increasingly multi-racial and multi-cultural Canada, what does Black History Month really mean to Canadians?
  • Why is there little, if any, connection with the African continent during this month of celebration?
  • Why do I find it ironic that the events in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain occurred during Black History Month?

To paraphrase Gil Scott Heron, the revolution will not be televised, it will be Tweeted.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGaRtqrlGy8

2 comments on “Reflecting on Black History Month

  1. I believe one of the obstacles to one central place is that so many individuals in the African Canadian community who claim to hold the key to black history in this country. There are a number of small museums — privately operated — scattered around Ontario (the last stop along the fabled Underground Railroad that moved slaves from bondage to freedom in Canada). But they have shoe-string budgets. There is also the Ontario Black History Society but their dream of a museum remains that….a dream. http://www.blackhistorysociety.ca/news.php/news/35

  2. All great questions. I think your point of a central place is critical. The right information easily accessible and shared (especially with the young) can make radical changes over time. Of course without information people are left to their own conclusions which is usually heavily influenced by past beliefs.

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