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Black History Month: “Black History in Our Own Backyard”

Black History Month takes place every February and is an opportunity to honor and celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians, past and present, as we pay tribute to the diverse backgrounds, experiences, cultures and histories of Black individuals and the Black community. It is also important to acknowledge and celebrate the important contributions of Black Canadians in the local Hamilton community who have, and continue to make, a difference in our community.

The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board welcomes opportunities to reflect on Black history and celebrate Black excellence on a daily basis. The month of February provides a special time for us to focus on the experiences of Black people and Black communities of the past, present, and future.

The focus of Black History Month this year in the HWCDSB is “Black History in Our Own Backyard.” This builds on our local Black History Month theme, “We are Hamilton, Black History Remembered,” which focuses on paying tribute to the Black community by highlighting the historical contributions and achievements of Black Hamiltonians who have helped to shape our city, and our country.

“The HWCDSB is committed to promoting equity, inclusion and belonging in every one of our schools and workplaces,” says System Equity Officer Alicia Ralph. “We are all created in the image and likeness of God, and as Catholics, we should be empowered to serve others and engage in the work of racial justice, appreciating the value that each person brings to the world.”

“We encourage every member of the HWCDSB to take part in celebrating Black history, culture, and achievements, this month and throughout the year.

The following activities are planned to celebrate Black History Month 2023:

Click here to view events, activities, resources, and details as they are released. Learn more about the historical contributions and achievements of Black Hamiltonians who have helped to shape our city, our communities, and our country.

Hamilton Black History Month Launch

Black History Month will launch in Hamilton on Monday, January 30, 2023 from 12 noon to 2 pm at City Hall Council Chambers, 71 Main St. W. Learn more at

Ainara’s Bookshelf

HWCDSB student Ainara Alleyne’s show, “Ainara's Bookshelf” premieres on TVOKids on Feb. 2. The show focuses on Ainara’s favourite books featuring Black, Indigenous, and racialized

characters. Episodes can also be viewed on marbleKids YouTube channel. Learn more at

Rafiki Celebrates Black History Month

“Come Read with Us” on Sat., February 4, 2023, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, 423 King Street East, Hamilton, ON L8N 1C5. Reserve a seat at EventBrite.

Hamilton Public Library Author Event: In Conversation with Sarah Raughley

Sarah Raughley is the author of “The Bones of Ruin” and the “Effigies” series. Sarah will be interviewed by HWCDSB student Ainara Alleyne who is co-creator, co-writer, and executive producer of the new TVO Kids series, “Ainara's Bookshelf.” The event, for teens 12-18 years of age, takes place on Saturday, February 18, 2023 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Turner Park Branch, 352 Rymal Rd. E., Hamilton, ON L9B 1C2.

SUUBI Tour performance

McIntyre Performing Arts Centre hosts a SUUBI Tour performance celebrating Black History Month on Monday, February 27, 2023, starting at 6:30 pm. Performers include legendary civil rights activist/speaker Minijean Brown-Trickey, former child soldier turned performer and peace activist Emmanuel Jal, and the Ugandan dance sensation Suubi Fusion Dance Troupe. Tickets available at

Additional Resources:

· A Walk Through Time – Black History Month in Hamilton 2022

· Hamilton Civic Museum Virtual Exhibit, ”And Still I Rise: African Canadian Workers in Ontario, 1900-2000”

· Ontario Heritage Trust,
The Early Black Community in Hamilton · The History of the Church includes many Black/African Catholic saints who received recognition for great deeds or meritorious conduct. Many lost their lives in defense of the faith. Many were also honoured for their contributions to the Church and their community.

· Early Black Settlement in Canada: This interactive timeline covers 300 years of migration of people of African descent into Canada and some of the communities they established

· 28 Moments of Black Canadian History

Black History Month: “Black History in Our Own Backyard”