With Black History Month underway, Dalhousie University and other organizations in Halifax will host events celebrating Black Nova Scotian heritage and deconstructing the nuances around being a Black Canadian.
Events at Dal
Dal begins its Black History Month events calendar with a panel discussion on fitting African perspectives into the field of social work. The panellists for this event, on Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m., are Querida Quarshie, Talisa Boland, Chidiebere Maduakolam and Ayeshah Ali. They are all involved in different forms of social work ranging from mental health support to child welfare services. Dalhousie professor Terrence Lewis will moderate the discussion. This event is online and open to the public.
On the same day at the University of King’s College, there is a video screening and panel discussion about Portia White. A Nova Scotian contralto concert singer, White was the first Black Canadian concert singer to garner international recognition. The panellists during this event include notable Nova Scotian voices George Elliott Clarke, Sylvia Hamilton and Abena Beloved Green, among others. This event begins at 7 p.m.
On Feb. 16, another panel will be hosted by Dal’s School of Social Work discussing teaching while Black. The Diversity and Equity Committee organizes the event featuring professors Obiora C. Okafor, Uzo Anucha, Charles Gyan and Nimo Bokore as guests. It will be moderated by Dal Black Faculty & Staff Caucus Chair Dominic Silvio. This event will take place on Microsoft Teams and is open to anyone who RSVPs.
Events throughout Halifax
For much of February, Halifax’s city hall will be lit up in the Pan-African colours of red, black and green. The light show projected on the old Halifax Memorial Library on Grafton Street will also change to celebrate African heritage month.
The Halifax public libraries will host various events throughout the city. Among the first is a presentation on African Nova Scotian genealogical research on Feb. 4, taking place at the Halifax Central Library. Using archives, the presentation will detail ongoing findings on Black contributions to Nova Scotian history.
Another event is a workshop on Feb. 8 on making Fufu, an African soul food with Mary Nkrumah from Mary’s African Cuisine. Soul food originated in African American cuisine in the southern United States. The libraries will also screen movies from Africa, such as the Nigerian film Tango With Me.
Several author readings are scheduled for local Black Nova Scotian authors at the public libraries. On Feb. 11, Moashella Shortte will be reading from her children’s book, Mirror, with her daughter. Another local author, Jess Marie, will also present her new book, Brown Like Me. The book is about her learning of her identity as divine and what makes her unique. Marie will also discuss her book on Feb. 11.The month’s celebrations also carry into sports. The Black Ice Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame Society, a Nova Scotia-based organization, will host a hockey game honouring the former Coloured Hockey League (CHL). The league, which existed in the early 20th century, was among the first hockey leagues to recruit Black players and the physical, innovative nature of play in the league is thought to heavily influence how the sport is played today. The teams, made up of entirely Black rosters, will be named after two CHL teams: the Halifax Eurekas and Dartmouth Jubilees. The puck will drop on Feb. 18 at the RBC Centre in Dartmouth.
Cover: Morgane Evans