Recognizing North American Black History
Black History Month began in the United States as “Negro History Week” in February 1926, through the work of African American scholar Dr. Carter G. Woodson. His aim was to raise awareness and understanding in the school curriculum of the African experience around the world. The United States began to formally celebrate Black History Month in the 1960s. Through community activities, organizers sought to present a more balanced and accurate picture of Black history.
In the 1950’s, community organizations such as the Canadian Negro Women’s Association began to celebrate the importance of the history of the black community in Toronto. In 1979, Toronto became the first municipality in Canada to proclaim Black History Month through efforts of many individuals and organizations such as the Ontario Black History Society. In 1995, Toronto Area MP Jean Augustine introduced a motion which was passed unanimously by the House of Commons to recognize Black History Month across Canada.
Black History Month is an opportunity for people to recognize the past and present contributions that African Canadians make in such areas as education, medicine, art, culture, public service, economic development, politics and human rights.
Northern Star founder, Marsha Barrow Smith was born and raised in Toronto. She attended York University where she achieved a double major in Political Science and the Humanities, as well as a Masters in Canadian History with an emphasis on African Canadian History. Marsha’s lifelong passion for Canadian and American Black History motivated her desire to create quality products highlighting the contributions made upon North American society by refugees and immigrants. Accompanied by her husband, an officer in the United States Army, and their two children, Marsha has had the opportunity to experience living and traveling worldwide.
Our products would not be possible without the following contributors:
- The Legacy of Leadership portraits were drawn by Christian Elden of Elden Creative Group.
- The Legacy of Leadership lesson plans were created by Trisha Curling.
- Kate of PageLauncher.com was instrumental in our poster and lesson plan layout designs. She also designed, produced, and powers our website!