February is recognized internationally as African Heritage Month – a time to celebrate and share the culture, history and achievements of people of African descent from all over the world. The theme of African Heritage Month 2020 is The Ties that Bind: Faith, Family and Community and recognizes the unique bond people of African descent share through faith, family and community. This provincial theme is about celebrating the longstanding legacy of faith and spirituality, acknowledging strong family ties and honouring the togetherness of the African Nova Scotian Community. These ties help facilitate a greater bond and understanding of all cultures in Nova Scotia. Together, we can unite the culture and heritage we share as a community as we also observe the United Nations International Decade of People of African Descent from 2015 to 2024, which embraces the themes of recognition, justice and development.
Each February, in particular, and throughout the year, schools in the Strait Regional Centre for Education focus on the history, culture and achievements of people of African descent. This is also the perfect time for each of us to reflect on our shared history and understanding of the contributions and traditions of people of African descent.
Throughout the year, and especially in February, teachers in the Strait Region incorporate a variety of educational approaches and thought-provoking activities in their classroom instruction in an effort to highlight the connection of our past to today and how this information shapes our understanding.
The Strait Regional Centre for Education encourages students, families, staff and community members to share in the celebration of African Heritage Month 2020.
History of African Heritage Month
In 1875, two former slaves gave birth to a son whom they called Carter (Woodson). As illiterate former slaves, they had few resources and could not afford to put him through school. Instead, he had to go to work to earn money to help support his family. He eventually did go to school, and even went on to become a high school teacher. Woodson started the American Negro Academy with the main purpose of studying and celebrating the important things black people had accomplished. As a result, in 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson established "Negro History Week". In Nova Scotia, the celebration of Black History Month was initiated in the early 1980s. Today, this national and international observance is now known as "African Heritage Month" and has been expanded to encompass the entire month of February to recognize and celebrate African heritage. February was also chosen to coincide with the birthdays of both Frederick Douglas (February 14, 1817) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809). Douglas, an escaped slave, became a famous speaker and presidential candidate. Lincoln is known as the US President who abolished slavery.
There are valuable educational resources on the subject of African History at our disposal. The on-line resources listed below that will provide information and insight into the contributions of people of African heritage in Nova Scotia, Canada and the world.
Nova Scotia Archives Heritage Exhibit
[NOTE: The above links are provided for information purposes only. The Strait Regional Centre for Education is not responsible for the information contained in these resource links.]