Achiev­ing recog­ni­tion

Black His­tory Month be­came of­fi­cial in 2008


The com­mem­o­ra­tion of African Her­itage Month in Canada can be traced 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.

The vast con­tri­bu­tions of African-Cana­di­ans to Cana­dian so­ci­ety have been ac­knowl­edged, in­for­mally, since the early 1950s.

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, Lib­eral MP Jean Au­gus­tine.

In Fe­bru­ary 2008, now re­tired Nova Sco­tia Se­na­tor Don­ald Oliver, the first black man ap­pointed to the Se­nate, in­tro­duced a mo­tion to have the Se­nate of­fi­cially de­clare Fe­bru­ary as Black His­tory Month. It re­ceived unan­i­mous ap­proval and was adopted on March 4, 2008.

The adop­tion of Oliver’s mo­tion was the fi­nal par­lia­men­tary pro­ce­dure needed for Canada’s per­ma­nent recog­ni­tion of Black His­tory Month.


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