Celebrate African Heritage Month 2017
Sharing the History and Culture of African Nova Scotians This year’s African Heritage Month theme, Passing the Torch…African Nova Scotians and the next 150 years, will honour past and present legacies of African Nova Scotians while looking forward to future greatness. The theme embraces African Nova Scotians’ resilience in the face of adversity over the generations as it highlights their successes and the bright path forward as Canada celebrates 150 years of confederation.
The province of Nova Scotia has over 50 historic African Nova Scotian communities, dating back over 200 years. Annually we celebrate the history, heritage and contributions of African Nova Scotians during the month of February and beyond. Our 2017 theme also aligns with the global observance of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent from 2015-2024 which focuses on three pillars: Recognition, Justice, and Development.
Each year in February, the African Heritage Month Information Network (AHMIN) produces an educational poster that is distributed and displayed across the province in community gathering centers, schools, churches, government offices and businesses. Those interested in a copy of the poster can visit www.bccns.com/ahmposter to order in advance. The AHMIN also facilitates African Heritage Month events and proclamations across the province of Nova Scotia. A full listing of community activities and events are available online at http://www.ansa.novascotia.ca/african-heritage-month.
African Heritage Month in Canada
The commemoration of African Heritage Month in Canada can be traced to 1926 when Harvard-educated black historian Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week to recognize the achievements of African Americans. Woodson purposefully chose February for the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, both key figures in the emancipation of enslaved blacks: In 1976, as part of the American Bicentennial celebrations, Negro History Week was expanded to Black History.
The vast contributions of African-Canadians to Canadian society have been acknowledged, informally, since the early 1950s. In December 1995, the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month, following a motion introduced by the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine. In February 2008, now retired Nova Scotia Senator Donald Oliver, Q.C., the first Black man appointed to the Senate, introduced a motion to have the Senate officially declare February as Black History Month. It received unanimous approval and was adopted on March 4, 2008. The adoption of Senator Oliver’s motion was the final parliamentary procedure needed for Canada’s permanent recognition of Black History Month.
About The African Heritage Month Information Network
The African Heritage Month Information Network is a partnership with African Nova Scotian Affairs, The Black Cultural Society (Organizational Lead), African Nova Scotian Music Association, African Nova Scotian North-Central Network, African Heritage Month Southwest Network, Africville Heritage Trust, Black History Month Association, Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association, and Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association, the Halifax Regional Municipality’s African Nova Scotian Integration Office, and the Guysborough, Antigonish Strait African Regional Network.