Black History Month | St. Clair College
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Black History Month banner

Based on a concept first launched by the African-American scholar Carter G. Woodson in 1926, Black History Month has been celebrated every February in the United States and Canada for decades. In 1995, Black History Month was granted federal recognition in Canada by a unanimous vote in the House of Commons, the result of the tireless efforts of the Honourable Jean Augustine, Canada’s first Black woman to be elected to the House of Commons as well as to serve as a Cabinet Minister.

Black History Month offers all Canadians an opportunity to celebrate the contributions and achievements of Black Canadians in every aspect of life. Every February, we can pause to reflect on the many ways in which Black Canadians have helped shape our country, from the arrival of the African-descended navigator and translator Mathieu DaCosta in the early 17th century to the present day. Black History Month is not only about the past but it is about our present and the future as Canadians—how we can continue to work towards living together in harmony for the good of all society.

“We are so very fortunate to live in Southwestern Ontario, where Black history is so rich, extensive and inspirational,” said St. Clair College President Patti France. “Given that Windsor, Amherstburg and many communities throughout Essex County and Chatham-Kent served as terminus destinations of the Underground Railroad, the museums, libraries and educational institutions of this region have vast quantities of material highlighting both the struggles and achievements of Black Canadians over the centuries. We have the unique and exciting ability, therefore, not only to mark Black History Month as a fleeting notification on our calendars, but to delve deeply into the many important contributions made to our area and Canada as a whole by those of African, Latin American and Caribbean descent.”

“In almost every profession, Black Canadians have been groundbreaking innovators, providing important improvements to our nation's economy, culture and quality-of-life. Those are contributions that we recognize throughout the year, but that we are particularly happy to highlight every February. Indeed, that sentiment is the gist of this year’s official theme for national Black History Month: ‘February and Forever: Celebrating Black History Today and Every Day’. So, let’s use these 28 days to launch an ongoing exploration and celebration of Black history, present-day achievement and future potential.”

You are encouraged to learn more about Canada’s Black history this month – and when you learn something exciting, please remember to share it with others. In addition to material that will be displayed and made available in St. Clair’s Library, you can launch your exploration of Black history at these sites:

Happy Black History Month! Join in the celebration with some Community Events.