Black History Month

[President Carissa Gordon]
President of the African Caribbean Student Association Carissa Gordon

Guest Author, Anita Jack-Davies, PhD’11

Black History Month was first recognized by Parliament 20 years ago, thanks to a motion passed by the Honourable Jean Augustine, the first woman of African descent to be elected to Parliament in Canada.

[Anita Jack-Davies]I was in my early twenties when she made history and I remember well the pride that I felt each time I saw her on television, simply because she looked like me. At the time there were few positive black figures in popular media and even fewer were women who were of Caribbean descent.

Black History Month was kicked off in Kingston on February 1 with an Opening Ceremonies event organized by the members of the Queen’s Black History Month Committee. The night featured a keynote speaker, Queen's alumni and Toronto Star columnist Desmond Cole Artsci’05, along with a spoken word performance, a drumming expose and a slide show on the history of Blacks in Kingston presented by elder Judith Brown, Arts'69.

Judith is the President of the Afro-Caribe Community Foundation, an organization that has been raising funds for the Robert Sutherland and Alfie Pierce Scholarships at Queen’s for 19 years. The scholarships provide financial assistance to students of African or Caribbean descent entering their first year at Queen’s who have achieved high academic standing. 

The month presents an opportunity for members of the Black community to come together in fellowship, but it also presents an opportunity for us to share aspects about our culture that will enrich the Canadian experience. As Canadian born, it is important for me that my culture and my experiences also make up the Canadian story.

As a member of the Black History Month organizing committee, I would like to recognize the hard work of two student groups, the African Caribbean Student Association (ACSA) and the Queen’s Black Academic Society (QBAS), who have both worked very hard to organize the many events happening this month.