Eleven ways to celebrate African Heritage Month in Halifax

Eleven ways to celebrate African Heritage Month in Halifax

February 2019 is African Heritage month in the 2015-2024 international decade for people of African descent proclaimed by the UN. The 2019 theme for Nova Scotia is “Our History is Your History.” There are many ways to learn more about African-Nova Scotian history, celebrate African heritage and participate in conversations and activities around Halifax this February. Below are just a few ways to make your month shine brighter.

1. Read a great book

Check out the few great books from authors like James Baldwin in the display at the King’s Co-op Bookstore.

Some recommended readings from the King’s Library:

  • Beneath the Clouds of the Promised Land: The Survival of Nova Scotia’s Blacks by Bridglal Pachai
  • Black Educators Association of Nova Scotia, 1987-1991, c1990
  • Fire on the Water: An Anthology of Black Nova Scotian Writing, George Elliott Clarke, editor. Pottersfield, 1991-1992
  • Historic Black Nova Scotia by Bridglal Pachai & Henry Bishop. Nimbus Pub., c2006
  • The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. HarperCollins, 2007
  • If This is Freedom by Gloria Ann Wesley. Roseway Publishing, 2013
  • And I Alone Escaped to Tell You by Sylvia Hamilton. Gaspereau Press, 2014
  • Live from the Afrikan Resistance! by El Jones. Roseway, 2014
  • North to Bondage: Loyalist Slavery in the Maritimes by Harvey Amani Whitfield. UBC Press, 2016
  • Viola Desmond’s Canada: A History of Blacks and Racial Segregation in the Promised Land by Graham Reynolds with Wanda Robson. Fernwood Publishing, 2016
  • Black Slavery in the Maritimes: A History in Documents, Harvey Amani Whitfield, editor. Broadview Press, 2018

All of these titles are available at University of King’s College Library.

More resources and reading selections are available online through the Department of African Nova Scotian Affairs.

2. Learn more about Viola Desmond

Viola Desmond’s portrait now appears on the Canadian $10 bill—the first Black, non-royal woman to be featured on Canadian currency.

Learn more about Viola and the African-Nova Scotian reporters who brought her story to light, including Sherri Borden Colley BJ(Hons)’97 and Dr. Carrie Best, in whose name King’s has a scholarship. Books on Desmond include Viola Desmond: Her Life and Times and Viola Desmond’s Canada: a history of blacks and racial segregation in the promised land which are both by Graham Reynolds with Wanda Robson and available through Fernwood Publishing.

3. Learn about African culture from Toria Adoo

Saturday, Feb. 9, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Bedford Public Library, 15 Dartmouth Rd.

Join Toria Aidoo, a music teacher from Ghana, as she weaves together storytelling, music, and the rich culture of Africa. Toria will also share her journey as founder of the Patoria Legacy Project and her ongoing work to rebuild a school in Ghana. See other events at the Halifax Public Library’s African Heritage Month website.

4. See The Bridge at Neptune Theatre

Playing until Feb. 10, check online for times
Fountain Hall, 1593 Argyle St.

Set in rural Nova Scotia, the Bridge is the first professional theatre production by Halifax’s former poet laureate Shauntay Grant, BJ’03 and the first play written by an African-Nova Scotian for Neptune since 1996. Shauntay’s children’s book Africville (2018), about the historic Halifax African-Nova Scotian community, was also nominated for a Governor General’s Award last year.

5. Hear about black women in leadership from Senator (Dr.) Wanda Thomas Bernard

Monday, Feb. 11, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Room 307, Dalhousie Student Union Building, 6136 University Ave.

The Dalhousie Black Student Advising Centre presents an opportunity to hear Senator (Dr.) Wanda Thomas Bernard as she shares her story and challenges as a social worker, teacher, activist and current experience as a senator. Dr. Bernard has used these positions to combat racism and to advance the interest of African Canadians. The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Chike Jeffers with entertainment by the Oshikoya Family and Sierra Leonean dancers. Light refreshments will be served.

6. See a screening of “The Hate U Give”

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 6 p.m.
Halifax North Memorial Public Library, 2285 Gottingen St.

The Health Association of African Canadians in partnership with the Black Cultural Centre, invite everyone to a free screening of The Hate U Give. See other events at the Halifax Public Library’s African Heritage Month website.

7. Attend the “R” is for reparations book launch.

Saturday, Feb. 23, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Halifax North Memorial Library, 2285 Gottingen St.

The book project began last year at a “book-in-a-day” event between African-Nova Scotian children, elders and artists for 2018’s African heritage month. This first-ever book on reparations from a child’s perspective project aims to address reparations for Black people for the atrocities of the Atlantic Slave trade, slavery and related injustices. “R” is for Reparations is published by Fernwood. The Halifax North Memorial Library event welcomes everyone to the launch celebration. Sponsored by Global Afrikan Congress -Nova Scotia Chapter, TD Bank Group, CBC, Black Educators Association, and Fernwood Publishing with contributions from University of King’s College Equity Committee.

8. Learn about Buddy Daye at Government House

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Government House, 1451 Barrington St.

Catch a presentation on the life and legacy of Delmore “Buddy” Daye, namesake of the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute at a special Evenings at Government House Event.

The Evenings at Government House events are free and open to the public. As seating is limited to 90, those wishing to attend must register beforehand. People can register online or by calling 902-424-7001. Registration for each event will open two weeks before the presentation on a first-come first-served basis.

9. Learn about environmental racism and health

Wednesday, Feb. 27, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building, Room 1020, 6100 University Ave.

All are welcome to hear Dr. Ingrid Waldron read from her bookThere’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities. Dr. Waldron looks at the health impacts of environmental racism in Canadian Indigenous and Black communities. Dr. Waldron is an Associate Professor at Dalhousie’s School of Nursing. The event is free, but requires a ticket through Eventbrite. You can also listen to Dr. Waldron talk about the book in Bookings, the King’s Co-op Bookstore’s Podcast, episode 2.

10. Hear Cecil Foster at Pier 21 Reads

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Andrea and Charles Bronfman Theatre, Pier 21, 1055 Marginal Rd.

Cecil Foster will discuss his experience writing They Call Me George and read excerpts of this previously untold story about black train porters, the power of minority groups in the fight for social justice and how a country can change for the better.

11. Attend a celebration or event in communities outside Halifax

The Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia can keep you up on events happening in communities all over Nova Scotia. The site is updated as new events are submitted. It also lists links to Black organizations that you may wish to connect with and follow online. You can also email a request to receive Black Cultural Centre updates to contact@bccns.com .

The Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs is another great resource to find out about events across Nova Scotia. Check out their regularly updated calendar of what’s happening.


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