Honoring Our History and Culture
Welcome to African Heritage Month 2024, where we proudly shine a spotlight on the rich history and vibrant culture of African Nova Scotians. This year's provincial theme, "Our Smiles, Our Joy, Our Resilience as African Nova Scotians," encapsulates the enduring spirit and resilience demonstrated by people of African descent throughout the centuries in our province. Our smiles tell stories, share our joy, and symbolize our resilience. As we celebrate our heritage and culture, we also align with the final year of the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent (DPAD) 2015-2024, aiming to strengthen global cooperation and increase awareness for people of African descent.
A Legacy of Over 200 Years
Nova Scotia boasts 52 historic African Nova Scotian communities, each with a profound and complex history spanning over two centuries. African Heritage Month provides a special opportunity to celebrate the culture, legacy, achievements, and contributions of our people, both past and present.
From the Beginning: Tracing the Roots
The roots of African Heritage Month trace back to 1926 when Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-educated Black historian, founded Negro History Week in the United States. Woodson deliberately chose February to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, key figures in the emancipation of enslaved Blacks. In Canada, Negro History Week transitioned to Black History Month in the 1950s and expanded nationally in 1976.
Leadership in Canada: Nova Scotia's Impact
Nova Scotia has played a pioneering role in the recognition of African Heritage Month in Canada. Key milestones include:
1985: The "official" opening night of Black History Month at the North Branch Library.
1987: Formation of the Black History Month Association.
1988: Nova Scotia observes its first Black History Month.
1994: Official incorporation of the Black History Month Association in Nova Scotia.
1996: Renaming of Black History Month to African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia.
These efforts influenced national recognition:
1995: The House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month.
2008: The Senate declared February as Black History Month, achieving permanent recognition.
African Heritage Month Information Network (AHMIN): Building Bridges
The AHMIN is a collaborative effort involving various organizations, including the Black Cultural Centre/Society, African Nova Scotian Affairs, and more. Together, we produce educational posters, distribute them across community spaces, and organize events and municipal proclamations throughout the province. To order a copy of this year's educational poster or to explore events, visit www.bccns.com/ahmposter and www.ahm.bccnsweb.com, respectively.
Join us as we come together to celebrate African Heritage Month, embracing our collective history, culture, and resilience by participating in this year’s events and activities:
Jan. 23 | 10 a.m.
Watch the livestream on YouTube.
Municipal Opening Night
Jan. 25 | 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Location: Paul O'Regan Hall or watch the livestream on YouTube.
In partnership with the Halifax Public Libraries and the Black History Month Association, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion/ANSAIO welcomes employees and residents to kick-off African Heritage Month at the Paul O’Regan Hall. Enjoy musical performances by Owen “O Sound” Lee and Jupiter Reign.
Bus Service for Municipal Opening Night
Halifax Transit is providing free transportation to residents attending Municipal Opening Night on the following routes:
• 6 p.m. – Bus leaving Black Cultural Centre, 10 Cherry Brook Rd (Note: The building will be closed at this time so residents must wait outside)
• 6:30 p.m. – Bus stops at the North Branch Library
• 6:45 p.m. – Bus arrives at Halifax Central Library
Following the event:
• 9 p.m. – Bus departs Halifax Central Library
• 9:15 p.m. – Bus stops at North Brand Library
• 9:45 p.m. – Bus stops at Black Cultural Centre
Space is limited. To secure your spot, please register by Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. by emailing ANSAIO@halifax.ca.
City Hall Lit in Pan-African Colours
Jan. 25 - Feb. 1 and Feb 11-17
City Hall will be illuminated in black, green, red, and yellow in honour of African Heritage Month
• Throughout February, the Downtown Halifax Business Commission will project light displays on the former Halifax Memorial Library Building at Grafton Park in celebration of African Heritage Month.
• The Pan-African flag will be displayed at both the Burnside and Ragged Lake Transit Centres, as the weather permits, in honour of African Heritage Month.
• Explore the African Heritage Month virtual portal, featuring programs that celebrate the African Nova Scotian community https://ahm.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca.