Government of Canada Invests in African Canadian History Education

News release

HALIFAX, April 8, 2021

The Government of Canada is committed to giving Canadians opportunities to learn about our many cultural communities, like the African Canadian community, that helped build a strong and vibrant Canadian society.

Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, along with Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament (Halifax), announced $1,031,565 in funding for Dalhousie University’s three-year project to fill a gap in African Canadian History Education. This new project, called A Black People’s History of Canada, will support leading Black history scholars and organizations to create engaging new classroom-ready learning materials and digital media about the history of Black Canadians.

These new learning materials, in English and in French, will target Canadian teachers and students in elementary and secondary schools across the country. It will mobilize educators and Canadians through workshops and conferences, with materials promoted through social media. The materials will be available through the project website and through a network of professional, community, institutional and government partners.

The project team is comprised of well-known, award-winning historians, researchers and writers including Dr. Afua Cooper as Principal Investigator, Dr. Karolyn Smardz Frost, Natasha Henry and Adrienne Shadd. All content will be developed and evaluated in consultation with leading educators, community organizations and government agencies.


“Our government is proud to support the development of learning materials, activities and networks that will give all Canadians the opportunity to enhance their understanding of Black Canadian history. This project will also showcase passionate historians, award-winning writers, speakers and artists, which will shed some light on the incredible contributions of Black Canadians thorough our history.”

—The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“On behalf of Dalhousie University, I would like to congratulate Dr. Afua Cooper on this latest recognition of her excellent scholarship, expertise and many outstanding contributions to African Canadian History. The generous support from Canadian Heritage will be instrumental in filling a critical knowledge gap in schools across the country. Dr. Cooper has already made immense contributions at Dalhousie and nationally, and we look forward to seeing the continued impact of her important work that will be supported through this funding.”

—Dr. Frank Harvey, Provost and Vice President, Academic (Acting), Dalhousie University

"Building a more inclusive and equitable Canada is a multigenerational task that must include teaching our youth about the struggles and triumphs of groups whose stories and perspectives have been historically underrepresented in our education system. This funding will help ensure that the rich history of Black Canadians is taught, celebrated and informs the next generation of leaders in social justice."

–Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament (Halifax)

“As Member of Parliament for several of Nova Scotia’s historic African Nova Scotian communities such as North Preston, East Preston, Lake Loon, Cherry Brook and Lake Major, I am incredibly pleased to see our government investing in projects like this, which will provide accessible and engaging information to teach all Canadians the significant role Black Canadians played in our nation’s History."

—Darrell Samson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Associate Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament (Sackville–Preston–Chezzetcook)

“People of African descent have a history in Nova Scotia and Canada that dates back more than 400 years. This project will help with the important work of ensuring that all Canadians know the full history of Black Canadians—a history full of resilience, determination and triumph.”

—The Honourable Tony Ince, Nova Scotia Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs and Minister responsible for the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives

“For too long, Black people’s history in Canada has languished in spite of the 400-year presence of Blacks in this country. Our project, which is for three years, will fill the lamentable gap in African Canadian history education. Researching, writing, conceptualizing, and teaching Black history in a comprehensive manner will produce a seismic shift in African Canadian knowledge mobilization.”

—Dr. Afua Cooper, Dalhousie University

Quick facts

  • Dalhousie University, in Halifax, is one of the Canada’s oldest universities, attracting more than 19,000 students from around the world.

  • Dalhousie University is committed to teaching and learning about Black History. The university launched the first Black Canadian and African Diaspora Studies program in Canada.

  • The Canada History Fund encourages Canadians to improve their knowledge of Canada's history, civics and public policy. The fund supports the creation and maintenance of learning materials, activities and networks.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Camille Gagné-Raynauld
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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