How the City of Hamilton is celebrating Black History Month

The City of Hamilton's “We are Hamilton – Black History Remembered” project is meant to commemorate the historical legacy and achievements of 16 Black Hamiltonians (Image courtesy/ Hamilton Public Library).

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the numerous contributions to Canada’s history and culture made by Black Canadians.

February was officially recognized as Black History Month in Canada in December 1995 after a motion introduced by Jean Augustine, the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament.

Today, to kick off Black History Month, there is an event held by McMaster University in the Student Centre atrium and marketplace.

The day-long event is organized by McMaster’s Black History Month Planning Committee, in partnership with the Equity and Inclusion Office and the Black Student Success Centre.

There will be guest speakers, including community and university leaders, as well as a market of local Black vendors, a steel pan performance by LuckyStickz, a spoken word performance, and a digital art exhibit by the Canadian Multicultural Inventors Museum.

Click here to learn more about the event.

For the City, the Hamilton Black History Council and several other organizations unveiled a project on Monday called “We are Hamilton – Black History Remembered”.

The project is meant to commemorate the historical legacy and achievements of 16 Black Hamiltonians:

  • Julia Berry
  • Ray Johnson
  • Sophia Burthen Pooley
  • Norman “Pinky” Lewis
  • Denise Brooks
  • Wilma Morrison
  • Reverend Robert Foster
  • Neville Nunes
  • Vince Hall
  • Fleurette Osborne
  • John Christie Holland
  • Eleanor Rodney
  • Anita Isaac
  • Cynthia Taylor
  • Dr. Ethilda “Tilly” Johnson
  • Jack “Jackie” Washington

READ MORE: Hamilton City Hall to hold Black History Month event 

“From education to justice, healthcare to housing and the homelessness crisis, Black Hamiltonians have continued to lead the way in the struggle for justice, equity, and change,” Mayor Andrea Horwath said.

The City of Hamilton is working with eight different Black-led organizations for this project:

  • The Afro-Canadian Caribbean Association
  • The Ghana Association of Hamilton
  • The Haitian Association of Hamilton
  • The Hamilton Anti-Racism Resource Centre
  • The Hamilton Black History Council
  • The Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion
  • The Nigerian Canadian Association of Hamilton and District
  • The Refuge Hamilton Centre for Newcomer Health

Included in the project are banners already set up along James St. North, as well as in several city facilities such as Recreation Centres, Hamilton Public Library branches, and Municipal Service Centres.

The banners displayed across the city feature the 16 key Black Hamiltonians with their names, faces, and biographies.

Twelve HSR buses are also wrapped in imagery and will be in operation city-wide for 16 weeks.