Black History Month continued this week at Crestwood. During homeroom this week, students were introduced to the lives of 5 individuals who have made significant contributions to Canada’s history. The week began with a look at Portia White, who in 1944 became the first Canadian invited to perform at New York City’s prestigious Town Hall Theater. Continuing with the theme of virtuoso musicians, we highlighted the life and career of Montreal’s Oscar Peterson, widely regarded as the greatest jazz pianist of all time. Wednesday’s homeroom was dedicated to trailblazing newspaper publisher and abolitionist Mary Anne Shadd, who was recently celebrated with a monumental portrait on the exterior of Toronto’s Mackenzie House museum. On Thursday, students learned the story of Robert Sutherland, who in 1852 became the first Black graduate of Queen’s University, and whose financial support helped the university avoid bankruptcy in the 1880s. The week finished off with the poetic stylings of Toronto based poet and novelist Dionne Brand, and a reading from her award winning work Ossuaries.
The goal of our Black History Month programming is to show all Crestwood students that Black History is Canadian History. And while February will always remain a time to celebrate and honour the contributions of Black Canadians, we know that the history of this country can not be accurately taught without telling the stories of Black Canadians- regardless of what month it is.