Recognizing and honouring Black History Month (BHM) began as early as 1926 in the United States. Carter G. Woodson advocated for celebrating Black achievement and excellence. He was inspired by Frederick Douglass' life – a formerly enslaved person who championed freedom.
February became the official month for celebrations in 1976, and in 1995, the Canadian government officially recognized February as Black History Month. During this month, culture, history, and excellence and the countless contributions to Canada and the world by Black Canadians are highlighted.
Did you know that Anderson Ruffin was the first licensed Black Canadian doctor? Born in Toronto and a graduate of the University of Toronto, some of his achievements include being coroner of Kent County in 1874 and chief surgeon in Chicago.
While Black History Month received a lot of attention in February, we need to remind and challenge ourselves to honour Black achievements and history throughout the year. Heroes like Anderson Ruffin, Bernice Redmon, and Lillie Johnson are among the many Black Canadians who were instrumental in shaping Canada's healthcare system despite the many barriers they had to overcome.