Black History Month at McGill

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.

Black History Month aims to celebrate and centre Blackness throughout the history, the present, and the future of McGill and beyond.

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.

Poster for Montreal’s “Mois de l’histoire des noirs”, by Lucky Odige

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.

Every February, Canadians are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present. The 2020 theme for Black History Month is: “Canadians of African Descent: Going forward, guided by the past.” This was inspired by the theme of the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024).

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

Toni Morrison (February 18, 1931 – August 5, 2019)

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.

Professor Wendy Greene of Drexel University, delivering her keynote speech at the opening ceremony of Black History Month at McGill

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.

Shanice Nicole Yarde, Equity Education Advisor (Anti-Oppression and Anti-Racism), author of upcoming book “Dear Black Girls”

We hope you will enjoy these resources as we celebrate, reflect on and honour Black History at McGill.

A celebration of Indigenous heritage, resistance, love and literature

On September 20th, Lower Field will play host to the 19th Annual McGill Pow Wow, a full day of traditional dancing and drumming. The Pow Wow is only one of many exciting events happening during Indigenous Awareness Weeks, in its 9th year, which run from September 16th to the 27th. In honour of, and in collaboration with, IAW, the Humanities and Social Sciences library has mounted a book display in the Redpath Library Building. The books on display cover a wide variety of subjects as they present a celebration of Indigenous heritage, resistance, love and literature.

First Nations and Inuit from across Canada are represented, including books by Two-Spirit authors Lindsay Nixon, Arielle Twist and Smokii Sumac, who will be reading from their works on September 18th.

“You Are Enough,” by Smokii Sumac

“Nîtisânak,” by Lindsay Nixon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sobering reads on topics such as the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, the legacy of residential schools and ongoing resistance to colonialism are offset by exultant reads honouring Indigenous spirit, resilience and ingénue.

Reclaiming power and place : the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

  • Secret Path, by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire. “Downie and Lemire have done something brilliant here by bringing the story of Chanie Wenjack and the residential school system to light for the reading public. Secret Path is a brilliant book, which should be held in prominence on any bookshelf. It breeds empathy and creates thought and discussion which, no doubt, will lead to action on improving an injustice to the human condition.”

“Secret Path,” by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire

  • Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal, edited by Kiera L. Ladner and Myra Tait, is “a collection of elegant, thoughtful, and powerful reflections about Indigenous Peoples’ complicated, and often frustrating, relationship with Canada, and how-even 150 years after Confederation-the fight for recognition of their treaty and Aboriginal rights continues. Through essays, art, and literature, Surviving Canada examines the struggle for Indigenous Peoples to celebrate their cultures and exercise their right to control their own economic development, lands, water, and lives. The Indian Act, Idle No More, and the legacy of residential schools are just a few of the topics covered by a wide range of elders, scholars, artists, and activists. Contributors include Mary Eberts, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Leroy Little Bear.”

“Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal.”

  • Me Artsy, by Drew Hayden Taylor, “an exploration and deconstruction of the Aboriginal artistic spirit as seen and practiced through various art forms that demonstrate reflections on society through an indigenous perspective, including talents not just limited to those considered strictly traditional in origin, but inclusive of more contemporary forms of cultural expression.”
  • Love Beyond Body, Space and Time, edited by Hope Nicholson, is “an anthology of science fiction and urban fantasy stories starring First Nations and Metis characters with a LGBT and two-spirit theme.”

 

  • Reawakening Our Ancestors’ Lines, by Angela Hovak Johnston, follows “what was at first a personal quest became a project to bring the art of traditional tattooing back to Inuit women across Nunavut, starting with Johnston’s home community of Kugluktuk. Collected in this beautiful book are moving photos and stories from more than two dozen women who participated in Johnston’s project. Together, these women have united to bring to life an ancient tradition, reawakening their ancestors’ lines and sharing this knowledge with future generations.”

“Reawakening our ancestors’ lines : revitalizing Inuit traditional tattooing,” by Angela Hovak Johnston

Check out a book and discover for yourself the breadth and depth of Indigenous knowledge, love, and spirit.

McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet today.

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L’Université McGill est sur un emplacement qui a longtemps servi de lieu de rencontre et d’échange entre les peuples autochtones, y compris les nations Haudenosaunee et Anishinabeg. McGill honore, reconnaît et respecte ces nations à titre d’intendant traditionnel des terres et de l’eau sur lesquelles nous nous réunissions aujourd’hui.

 

Learn more about the vibrant community of Kahnawà:ke: http://kahnawaketourism.com/
Learn about the Hochelaga Rock: http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=12017
Do you know how many Nations are in Quebec? http://www.autochtones.gouv.qc.ca/nations/cartes/carte-8×11.pdf

LOVE! : An exploration of love, lust & desire

Though many deride Valentine’s Day as a holiday invented by greeting card companies, what better way to break up the long winter months than with a celebration of love to warm the cockles of our cold, cold hearts?

This month’s book display covers all types of love – from best friends to one-night stands to your grandparents’ marriage and everything in between. Coming at love from all angles, there are poets and artists and philosophers and psychologists. We have Shakespeare’s sonnets and a Leonard Cohen/Henri Matisse art mash up. Love: All That Matters, is a fascinating introduction to both the psychology and philosophy of love – and what matters most about it. There is Love Analyzed; Love, a history; Love and love sickness: the science of sex, gender difference, and pair-bonding; and just plain old Love.

 

Tired of Tinder? So are we! Put your thumb-swiping skills to use turning the pages of Love Online, which explores the “hypermarket of desire” that is online dating, or Labor of Love, in which Moira Weigel dives into the secret history of dating while holding up a mirror to the contemporary dating landscape, revealing why we date the way we do and explaining why it feels so much like work. If online dating’s got you down, The Hypothetical Girl, stories by Elizabeth Cohen, will make you feel less alone.

Don’t worry, there is a fair dose of sincerity amid all this flippancy. In Love, Tony Milligan addresses this mood of pessimism about the nature of love and explores the value and significance of love in fostering an enjoyable and successful life.

Whether you crave sweeping epics à la Anna Karenina, or more contemporary sagas such as The Time-Traveler’s Wife, we’ve got you covered. Underneath this veneer of sarcasm there does, indeed, lie a hopeless romantic, and we want to share all of our favourite love stories with you!

LOVE! book display in Redpath