10th Anniversary of the National Declaration of February as Black History Month in Canada.
African-American historian, Carter G. Woodson conceived of the idea to have Negro History Week (later extended to Black History Month) in 1926 to coincide with the birthdates of emancipators, American President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass who had been enslaved. Sleeping car porters brought the idea across the border into Canada with them.
The Canadian Negro Women’s Association celebrated it within the Black Canadian community. However, when Stanley G. Grizzle organized the first ‘mainstream’ celebration of February as Black History Month (BHM) in Toronto’s British Methodist Episcopal Church in 1950, no one could have imagined that it would grow to encompass the imagination of the entire country. But that it did.
Through the efforts of Dr. Daniel G. Hill of the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS), BHM was formally recognized in Toronto by 1979. As it continued to be nurtured and supported by the OBHS, the idea to have a national BHM declaration in Canada was introduced to Jean Augustine, MP and Parliamentary Secretary by Rosemary Sadlier, President of the OBHS. It was finally passed in the House of Commons on December 5, 1995, and the first national declaration of Black History Month in Canada went into effect in February 1996.