The Canada you never knew – now including Black History.
February 4, 2017
Attendees sat captivated as they learned that during the 1930s, the City of Halifax denied residents of Africville essential services like running water, a road system and sewage disposal. Yet they collected taxes from Africville residents, who were forced to live outside the city, about 2 kilometers away.
University of Winnipeg student Sidonia Deng noted how everyone sees Canada positively, but then you hear that the City of Halifax had put an open garbage dump and a slaughter house in Africville. Learning that many homes were expropriated and destroyed to build a railway, without compensating residents for their loss-you find that Canada’s history was not always so inclusive.
The purpose of this year’s format was, “To get more people exposed to black history, the method was to do research and presentations,” said Lead Organizer of the Youth Symposium 2017 Research Challenge, Victor Vaughan, 58.
Black History Month Celebrations Committee, Inc.
Youth Symposium 2017 Research Challenge Presentations:
Now in it’s 36th year in Winnipeg, the Black History Month Celebrations Committee, Inc. (BHMCC) is encouraging youth to dig into their history and learn more about Canadian black history.
“It was eye-opening…our world has been connected for a very long time, but we don’t often hear the black perspective,” said University of Manitoba student Michael Archer, who presented on The Berlin Conference of 1884-1885. Archer was amazed to find out that during the industrial revolution, from one side of the world, there were demands for rubber and different metals to produce cars. But on the other side of the world, Belgium was forcibly enslaving the people of the Congo to make the rubber and metals required for vehicles, from their land’s natural resources.
“It was eye-opening…our world has been connected for a very long time, but we don’t often hear the black perspective” -Michael Archer
Held at Truth and Life Worship Center Church and emceed by Red River College student, Sappfyre McLeod, the event was youth-led and empowering.
“The focus was to have it (be) more interactive and encourage networking, socializing, and being more of a connection with each other,” said BHMCC Inc., Chair, Nadia Thompson.
In the afternoon, participants delved into group research, making fascinating discoveries about the contributions of historical black trailblazers, then presented the knowledge they unearthed in 30 minutes. The participants were enlightened about:
Dr. Sebi (Born November 26, 1933) – A Naturopathic doctor and genius famed for curing all diseases including diabetes, cancer and AIDS.
Vivien Thomas (Born August 29, 1910) – Helped devise a way to correct a congenital heart defect know as Blue Baby syndrome.
Madam C.J. Walker (Born December 23, 1867) – Entrepreneur that created specialized products for African-American hair and was one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire.
Harry Jerome (Born September 30, 1940) – Famous Canadian athlete who won a Gold Medal for 100m (10.2 sec) at the Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg, 1967.
Mary McLeod Bethune (Born July 10, 1875) – Educator and activist that formed the National Association of Colored Women and the National Council of Negro Women
Patrice Lumumba (Born July 2, 1925) – The first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Fannie Lou Hamer (Born October 6, 1917) – Civil rights activist who helped African Americans to register to vote and co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
Hamilton Naki (Born June 26, 1926) – Renowned, self-taught surgeon and surgical instructor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Toussaint L’Ouvertyre (Born May 20, 1743) – A former slave who rose to become the leader of the only successful slave revolt in modern history, the Haitian Revolution.
Viola Desmond (Born July 6, 1914) – Entrepreneur, in esthetics that also formed her own beauty school and civil libertarian.
Eventually, The Black History Month Celebrations Committee Inc., would like to see the richness of Black History taught throughout the school systems across Canada.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
– President Barack Obama
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