February is Black History Month, a time to “Remember the past. Celebrate the present.” We do have festivals featuring our Black neighbours all year round, but this month we especially focus on them in our schools, media and cultural events.
We’ve already blogged about slavery in Toronto (scroll down to see No. 44. Underground Railroad to Toronto). That blog is about historian Afua Cooper’s talk on an amazing slave who escaped from Delaware to Toronto with her seven children. Dr. Cooper also talked about slavery in Toronto. Yes, for a while Toronto did allow slavery, until Lieut.-Governor John Graves Simcoe passed the Anti-Slavery Act of 1793 which started the move toward abolishing slavery here.
There are many related Black History festivals and events in Toronto. Among the free or almost free ones are those organized by the City of Toronto and the Black History Society of Ontario. Harbourfront is commemorating the month on the weekends of February 5 and 6, and February 12 and 13 with a wide range of dances, music, talks and exhibitions.
There are a lot of events. If you see me there, please introduce yourself. I’ll be one of the few Chinese faces there. Look also for me in the award-winning National Film Board video “Journey to Justice”: http://bit.ly/hjm7FE . Honest. Chinese-Canadians have been involved in Black History. This video was produced by another one, Louise Lore.
You can start your Black History right here with three videos from www.mycompass.ca :
Web-sites with event dates:
Harbourfront’s Kuumba festival: http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/kuumba/kuumba.cfm?festival_id=77&ref=fp
City of Toronto events: http://www.toronto.ca/blackhistory/events.htm
Toronto Public Library events: www.torontopubliclibrary.ca
Ontario Black History Society: http://www.blackhistorysociety.ca/events.php
TD Bank list with some free events at: http://www.td.com/thenandnow/#toronto .