February is Black History Month here in Canada and in the USA. It s a month that is set aside to teach about the contributions that people of African descent have made to American culture and history. Last year I celebrated by writing a series of essays and posting them on Facebook:
- What is “black” – pt. 1: skin colour
- What is “black” – pt. 2: self-identity
- What is “black” – pt. 3: my working definition
- “The N Word”
- “Polite” racism
- Three steps toward ending black-white racism
While these posts were meaningful to me, and provided the basic underpinning of this entire blog exercise you’re currently reading, they’re not particularly relevant to black history. In my personal life I read a bit about pre-colonial African history and archaeology, which cast a great deal of doubt about the idea that technology and civilization were European imports to Africa.
This year, my plan is to read and blog about black history in Canada. There’s a lot of it, but we weren’t taught it in school. Like it is done in most places, black history begins and ends with slavery. Black history is much richer and more ingrained with Canadian history than the issues specifically related to slavery. I am going to do some of my own reading and throw up one article per week summarizing what I’ve learned.
So… look forward to that I guess.
Hey, I don’t normally ask for recommendations, but if you happen to have a book that you would recommend in honor of the spirit of the month. As you know, I am as white as they come. I have more than enough time, so a book, two, three, whatever you can think of, I would greatly appreciate it to expand my knowledge and world view.
Lawrence Hill is one of the great Negro authors in Canada. His writing is excellent and quite accessible to someone who doesn’t have a background in the subject matter. I’d recommend any and all of his books. For a backgrounder read, you could try Up From Slavery by
W.E.B. DuboisBooker T. Washington, but that’s an American book.
I’m reading Black Like Who? by Rinaldo Walcott. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Thanks for the recommendation. I think I will start with Someone Knows My Name.