February is Black History Month. Black people have been present in Canada ever since explorer and navigator Mathieu da Costa arrived in Acadia with Samuel de Champlain in the seventeenth century. As a person of Acadian descent, learning that da Costa’s arrival even predates that of my own ancestors opened my eyes to a history that for so many has been invisible. 

For myself, and for Brampton Library, this is a time to reflect on the contributions and struggles of the Black community, and what can be done to turn a history of racism and exclusion into a present of recognition and inclusion. It is an opportunity to encourage and inspire conversations, even uncomfortable ones, about everyone’s role in correcting historical wrongs. 

This month, your library is a place to discover the legacy of Black Canadians with book and film recommendations, collaborative programming, historical content, and more, for all ages.

On February 15, from 7–8:30 p.m., we celebrate local Black culture through the eyes of our youth, in partnership with ResQ Youth International and Black Youth School Success Initiative (BYSSI). Learn about the influence of African music and language on pop culture, cook Jamaica’s national dish with Chef Horace Spence, and deepen your knowledge of history in the interactive portion. Please register for this program here.

Watch for our social media posts about local Black Canadian history and culture. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @bramptonlibrary. 

Enjoy Virtual Storytime on our YouTube channel. This popular program will share Black themes, authors, and illustrators every Tuesday in February at 10:30 a.m.

Lawrence Hill once remarked:  "Have we read our own authors … Do we know that the story of African-Canadians spans four hundred years, and includes slavery, abolition, pioneering, urban growth, segregation, the civil rights movement and a long engagement in civic life?" 

Accordingly, we suggest Jane Igharo’s Ties That Tether; Louisa Onome’s Like Home; Arts Walk of Fame inductee Ian William’s Disorientation; and Jael Richardson’s Gutter Child. These Black authors and their books will be recognized by the City of Brampton during Black History Month 2022 and you can find them in our branch displays, our online catalogue, on cloudLibrary, and on our mobile app.

And that’s not all! Our librarians have compiled wonderful reading lists and watching lists of books and films that will support you in your journey. Be sure to check out these dedicated online shelves on our website. Click here for books for adults and kids. Click here for e-books and audiobooks for adults and e-books and audiobooks for children. Click here for films on Kanopy. To get a library card click here.

To build your knowledge of Black history and culture now and in the months to come, look no further than your favourite Brampton Library branch. We want to be your neighbourhood champion.

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