Throughout February, the McGill Community joins many others in celebrating Black History Month.
The 2020 celebrations across the University, city and country encompass many themes. A common thread throughout this year’s themes is exploring the past in order to understand the present and build a better future.
McGill’s theme for this year is Rooted, an exploration of the rooted past, present and future of Black history and communities. There are many events happening across campus and in collaboration with organizations across the city of Montreal, where the theme for this year’s 29th edition of Black History Month is “Ici et Maintenant! / Here and Now!” celebrating the voices and activism of young people from the African diaspora.
Canada’s Black History Month theme is inspired by the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent. “Canadians of African Descent: Going Forward, Guided by the Past” is represented by the sankofa bird, an important symbol of the African diaspora that represents the need to reflect on the past in order to build a successful future.
This year’s programming will also honour Toni Morrison in light of her passing on August 5th, 2019. Toni Morrison was an American novelist, essayist, book editor, and college professor. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. The critically acclaimed Song of Solomon (1977) brought her national attention and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 1988, Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved (1987); she gained worldwide recognition when she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Her contributions to literature and politics
The library has created a LibGuide highlighting parts of the collection that support and expand on these themes. This new LibGuide will be a place to find information on all future Redpath Book Displays, from bibliographies to YouTube videos.
In support of the powerful keynote address at McGill’s Black History Month Opening Ceremony, titled “Rooted: Locking Black Hair to Human Rights Activism,” by Professor Wendy Greene of Drexel University, we present a collection of titles exploring the specific experience of Black hair and its ties to culture and identity.
Find books that form the traditional canon of Black literature, as well as new contributions by contemporary Black authors, both American and Canadian. Keep an eye out this March as we add “Dear Black Girls,” by McGill’s Equity Education Advisor, Shanice Nicole (Yarde), to the collection.
We hope you will enjoy these resources as we celebrate, reflect on and honour Black History at McGill.