Thursday, January 31, 2008

Black History Month in Canada

February is also Black History Month for black Canadians. About 2-3% of the national population is currently of African descent. The largest populations reside in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Alberta.

Black Canadian history is also linked to the United States. Slavery became increasingly rare in Canada and eventually became illegal in the British empire by 1833. Canada became a favorable place to escape slavery in the United States. Today, there are sizable black communities in Southern Ontario and Nova Scotia who trace their ancestry to the black ex-slaves who used the Underground Railroad to seek refuge and freedom in Canada. This also marks the 175th anniversary of the Act to abolish slavery in the British empire.

For more information about black Canadian history, click here. This is another interesting website on the black Canadian experience in Ontario, 1834-1914.

This news release has been recently announced by the national government of Canada.

The Honourable Jason Kenney, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity), today invited Canadians to celebrate Black History Month during the month of February.

"I invite all Canadians to join in the celebrations and, in so doing, to reflect upon the significant contributions of black Canadians to our society and the vital role this community has played in our shared history," said Secretary of State Kenney. "This year marks the 175th anniversary of the Act for the Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire, which ended slavery throughout the British colonies and was a key step toward recognizing the evil of slavery."

In December 1995, the Parliament of Canada officially recognized February as Black History Month. Communities across Canada will host events to celebrate the contribution of black Canadians to our society.

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