Black History Month
in Toronto Public Library
Toronto celebrates Black History Month every February to honour Canadians of African descent. Despite decades of racial discrimination, black Canadians have contributed immensely to social, economic, cultural, and political life in Toronto. Learn more about the history of African Canadians and enjoy artistic celebrations live and on screen with the scheduled events this month in the city.
TIFF Film Programme
The programme "Music, Magic, Clash: New Voices in the African Diaspora" focuses on new filmmakers of African descent. From a documentary about an inspiring Brampton teacher who guides his high school students to develop and affirm their black identity ("Colour Me"), to an expansive doc and live performance by hip-hop veterans The Sugarhill Gang, the Lightbox is a great spot to learn about and explore Black History Month.
Toronto Public Library Events
The public library hosts numerous programs for Black History Month, including:
- A history lesson in concert as Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley tell the history of slavery, the American Civil War, and the Underground Railroad through rockin' blues music.
- Screenings of the National Film Board documentary "Mighty Jerome," a biography of Olympic medalist Harry Jerome. Harry overcame racism and debilitating injury to break international track and field records and receive the Order of Canada.
- A dub poetry session with Michael St. George, who introduces the audience to this modern spoken word art form based on West African griot oral tradition.
- Exhibits on black communities, literature, and journalism in Victorian Toronto and Canada.
For a full schedule and listings of other readings, concerts, and workshops, visit website of the Toronto Public Library.
Toronto Museums Events
For a month based on history, local museums are of course hosting dedicated events to educate and entertain Torontonians:
- Montgomery Inn goes back in time in a dramatic first-person narrative to recount the story of Joshua Glover as he flees an American plantation, arrives in Etobicoke, and finds a job at the Inn.
- Mackenzie House spotlights the first black communities in Toronto, centring around the earliest newspapers published by African Canadians.
For dates and contact info, go to the website of the Toronto Museums.
- The ROM is screening the documentary "RasTa: A Soul's Journey" every weekend in February. The film enlightens viewers on the Rastafarian movement, its history, values, and international impact, by following Donisha Prendergast (Bob Marley's granddaughter) across eight countries as she meets and talks with people practicing Rastafari.
- U of T's Hart House presents "28 Days: Reimagining Black History Month," a free art exhibition featuring black artists from around the world. Print, video, photography, painting, drawing, and sculpture works express and question history, memory, and contemporary representation in black culture.