Filling Gaps In History Books and Making Records for Tomorrow

Christina Leadlay
Published: Wednesday, 02/01/2006 12:00 am EST

February is Black History Month, dedicated to celebrating the achievements and legacy of black Canadians, past and present. Established in response to the conspicuous absence of African voices in North American history books, Negro History Week was first proposed in 1926 by African-American historian Carter G. Woodson to observe and honour the accomplishments of Black Americans. The week grew into Black History Month in 1976, and in 1995 was officially recognized by the Canadian Parliament, thanks to a motion introduced by the first Black Canadian woman elected to the federal parliament, Jean Augustine. In Ottawa, Mayor Bob Chiarelli officially launched the month's-worth of events on Jan. 27 at City Hall, and festivities got underway that weekend. Black History Ottawa, a non-profit, community-based and volunteer-driven organization, has made sure that the next 28 days are packed with presentations and events across the city for those of African heritage, and those interested in knowing more about the African diaspora.

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