AHM kicks off January 20 with new events to celebrate African history, culture
By a Staff Reporter
The provincial African Heritage Month (AHM) launch kicked off with the Unveiling of the Unsung Heroes poster at Province House on January 20. On the heels of that launch, AHM Proclamations got underway at Cape Breton, New Glasgow and other regional centres across the province.
The month-long agenda of talks, film screenings, gala dinners, music concerts and other presentations will cover the gamut of African Diaspora history, the struggles of the African people and celebrations of unsung heroes.
Black History Month (as it was originally called) had its origins in the United States and was the idea of African American Scholar Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who argued that the African American experience was a worthy subject of study and called for a time when the history and culture of American peoples could be celebrated.
In 1926, he declared Black History Week. In the 1970′s this call became entrenched as several Black organizations and community leaders banded together to promote the concept of Black History Month. In Nova Scotia, the celebration of Black History Month, has steadily grown.
African Heritage Month—as it is now called – is a celebration of the contributions made by people of African descent. The series of programs that get underway create a sense of pride in the community as well as create an understanding of Black heritage.
- On January 25, the James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies presented The Struggle for Human and Civil Rights by African Nova Scotians, 1961-2011 with a talk by Rocky Jones at Dalhousie University.
- On February 1, a presentation is being made on The Black Refugees to Nova Scotia from the War of 1812 by George Elliott Clarke and guest El Jones at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic at 7:00 p.m.
- On February 2, the Play Other People’s Heaven: The Viola Desmond Story will be performed by Firebrand Theatre Company at the Glasgow Square Theatre in New Glasgow at 8:00 p.m.
- On February 8, Nollywood Comes to Halifax: The Mirror Boy. The is a youth-focused film that explores the beauty of the Gambia and what it is to rediscover one’s African Roots. It will screen at the Canadian Museum of Immigration
- Pier 21, Halifax at 7:00 p.m. On February 16, Can We Talk? It’s about a new vision for the North End. This event will bring together diverse stakeholders, health professionals and service providers to discuss findings and share solutions inspired by a video that examines the impact of social inequalities on the health of African Nova Scotian and Aboriginal community members in north-end Halifax.
The complete list of events can be seen on the website http://gov.ns.ca/ansa/
In Halifax, the evacuation in the 1960s of Africville – the settlement of Blacks on the Bedford Basin since 1840, was a sad commentary on the marginalization of the community and injustice of the time.
But last February, Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly ratified the Africville apology and the Government of Canada established a $250,000 Africville Heritage Trust to design a museum and build a replica of the community church.
In his apology Kelly said: “Our history cannot be rewritten but, the future is a blank page and, starting today, we hold the pen with which we can write a shared tomorrow.”
That apology, at last, put paid to the injustice done to the people of Africville in the Sixties.