Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate Canada’s rich history — a chance to learn about important Black Canadians and celebrate their contributions.
The University of Calgary is celebrating Black History Month through a series of stories and virtual events. Throughout February, UCalgary invites the community to share in conversations about anti-racism, art history, literature, mental health and more.
- Photo above: Violet King is presented with a purse by the Calgary local of the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in June 1954. Violet King was the first Black Canadian to obtain a law degree in Alberta and the first Black female lawyer in Canada. "Railway porters presentation to Violet King, Calgary, Alberta." 1954, The Albertan. Courtesy of Glenbow Archives, Archives and Special Collections
Dr. Malinda Smith, vice-provost, equity, diversity and inclusion, says the month of February is an opportunity to delve into Alberta’s extraordinarily interesting and complex Black historical experience.
“More Canadians should know the names Lulu Anderson and Violet King,” says Smith. “Why, as Canadians, do we know American history better than our own history?”
Smith has been instrumental in promoting equity and diversity in research, teaching and learning, to help facilitate inclusive culture. She is a nationally recognized leader in equity, diversity and inclusion.
“Black History Month is about learning from our experiences, so we don’t repeat history in a way that excludes Black Canadians and their accomplishments.” Smith says. “It's about acknowledging the important stories that helped define our country.”
Register now for Black History Month events at UCalgary
- Simone Saunders: Tufting our Time
Simone is an award-winning Canadian artist, creating hand-tufted textiles of colourful portraiture celebrating womanhood that are rooted in a rich and vibrant Black History. She was included in the Bank of Montreal’s National 1st Art! Competition, as the national winner of 2020.
- Dr. Afua Cooper
This event will feature a presentation by Dr. Afua Cooper and poetry performances by two dynamic Calgary poets: AloT of Poetry and Nyabuoy.
- TLRO: Black Canadians’ Mental Health
During this event, join Dr. Regine King to learn about actions Calgarians can take to address the criminalization of Black Canadians. Understand what culturally relevant mental health services look like and how they can contribute to health and equity.
- Courageous Conversations: “Untold Stories: Black Student Experiences in Calgary”
Dr. Marlon Simmons from the Werklund School of Education at UCalgary will be joined by two UCalgary students, Dr. Kojo Otoo and Eric Ofori-Atta, to discuss what systems are in place to support university access for Black students. Registration opens soon.
- An Afternoon With Lawrence Hill
Lawrence Hill is known for his 2007 novel The Book of Negroes, inspired by the Black Loyalists given freedom and resettled in Nova Scotia by the British after the American Revolutionary War, and his 2001 memoir Black Berry, Sweet Juice: on Being Black and White in Canada.