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Windsor-Essex kickoffs Black History Month

by Adam Gault

Black History Month celebrations kicked-off on Friday, January 29, with a special online presentation hosted by the Essex County Black Historical Research Society, Windsor West Indian Association, and the Amherstburg Freedom Museum.

Recognizing the importance of Black History Month through poetry, drumming, and song, the event highlighted the rich contributions of Canadians of African descent throughout Windsor and Essex County, and their instrumental roles in the cultural, social, political, and economic progress of the region.

“Annually, a wide-array of Black History Month events take place throughout our region,” President of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society, Irene Moore Davis, said. “This year will be no different, except that almost all of the activities are taking place virtually.”

The evening’s performances featured local artists Teajai Travis, Florine Ndimubandi, Kionna Wilson, Brett Logan, Nadine Manroe, the Hidaya Diaspora Junior Dance Group, and Black Kids in Action Performing Arts Group.

Many of this Black History Month’s cultural and heritage events will be hosted online through the Amherstburg Freedom Museum, an organization with a mission to share the stories of African Canadians and their integral role, not just in Amherstburg, but the nation as a whole.

“With this in mind, for Black History Month, the Amherstburg Freedom Museum has several virtual events lined up,” Amherstburg Freedom Museum Curator, Mary-Katherine Whelan said. “[This] includes several virtual presentations about many important topics about black history in Canada.”

The Windsor West Indian Association – which, for more than 50-years, has sought to promote the social and cultural well-being of the people of the West Indies, in addition to fostering relationships with the greater community – took part in the virtual event, with its President stating it was an honour to be a part of an event recognizing the importance of Black History Month.

“It’s a wonderful time to step back and recognize the many great gifts African Canadians have brought to our nation,” Windsor West Indian Association President, Herma Brown, said. “These people have helped us learn what strength is, what perseverance is. They broke down barriers, overcame our darkest days. These people help us build towards a greater nation, where people are judged by the contents of their character, not the colour of their skin.”

A full list of upcoming Windsor-Essex Black History Month virtual events can be found online at amherstburgfreedom.org