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 2021 is Black History Matters: Listen, Learn, Share and Act and recognizes the important legacy of people of African descent and their long-standing history in the development of Canada. The theme is also reflected in the United Nations’ declaration of the International Decade of People of African Descent from 2015 to 2024, which embraces the themes of recognition, justice and development.
The SRCE has designated the first week of February, February 1 to 5, 2021, as Black Lives Matter Week in schools. During this week, teachers in the Strait Region will incorporate a variety of thought-provoking activities in their classroom instruction to support student learning as they listen to one another, learn about our shared history, share and celebrate their cultures and discuss ways to act to make our communities a better place for all. These learning opportunities will highlight the connection of our past to today and how this information shapes and enhances our understanding. 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.
These initiatives also align well with the SRCE System Improvement Plan goal to foster student well-being through the creation of safe, positive, inclusive and culturally responsive learning and work environments.
The Strait Regional Centre for Education encourages students, families, staff and community members to share in the celebration of African Heritage Month 2021.
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 about African History at our disposal. The on-line resources listed below will provide information and insight into the contributions of people of African heritage in Nova Scotia, Canada and the world.
[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.]