Black History Month is celebrated every year to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Canada’s black Canadians past and present. This year marks the 20th year anniversary since Black History Month was officially celebrated nationally in Canada. The month was formally recognized after the courageous efforts of a motion put forth by Canada’s first Black Canadian woman elected into parliament, Hon. Jean Augustine. In Massey’s 54 years of existence, this is the first time the college will be officially recognizing Black History Month with a series of month long activities:
Thursday February 4th 2016 – Documentary Screening of Forward ever: The killings of a Revolution (7:15pm to 9pm) in the Upper Library.
Wednesday February 17th 2016 – Black History Month Speaker Series titled “Freedom to be Seen and Heard: The Role of History and the Representation by the Other” – in the Upper Library at 7pm to 8:30pm.
Thursday February 25th 2016 – Black History Month High Table
The Hon. Jean Augustine: Politician, Education & Social Justice Advocate, Teacher
Born in St. George’s, Grenada, Jean Augustine was a qualified teacher when she arrived in Canada in 1959, but had to work as a domestic and shoe clerk before earning an Ontario Teacher’s Certificate. After completing a Master of Education degree, Ms. Augustine became a school principal and supported many social causes through her involvement in boards such as that of The Hospital for Sick Children. She also served as the National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada. In 1993, Canadian politician Jean Augustine became the first Black woman elected to the Parliament of Canada. Among her accomplishments as an MP was the introduction of a motion, passed unanimously, to have February proclaimed as Black History Month in Canada. During her years as a federal member of Parliament, The Honourable Jean Augustine served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister of Canada, Chair of the National Liberal Women’s Caucus, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Deputy Speaker. The mother of two daughters, Jean Augustine is the recipient of numerous awards–including the 1994 Canadian Black Achievement Award, the YWCA Woman of Distinction and the Kaye Livingstone Award forsupport of issues relating to Black women. The Jean Augustine Scholarship Fund, established in honour of Ms. Augustine, provides help to single mothers studying at George Brown College in Toronto. She holds an Honourary Doctorate of law from the University of Toronto.