Winston LaRose, a beloved 80-year-old activist/amateur documentarian who has documented the Black community throughout the Black Diaspora for the past 60 years throws his hat into local politics and is met with unflinching systemic racism in the Canadian political system. This award-winning film gives an insider perspective of Black community activism in Canada.
This documentary pays tribute to a group of Canadians who took racism to court. They are Canada's unsung heroes in the fight for Black civil rights. Focusing on the 1930s to the 1950s, this film documents the struggle of 6 people who refused to accept inequality. Featured here, among others, are Viola Desmond, a woman who insisted on keeping her seat at the Roseland movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1946 rather than moving to the section normally reserved for the city's Black population, and Fred Christie, who took his case to the Supreme Court after being denied service at a Montreal tavern in 1936. These brave pioneers helped secure justice for all Canadians. Their stories deserve to be told.
Snow-Job: Why is Black Slavery “Whited Out” in Canadian History? An Incorrect Sestina (2020) available via CBC
Former Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke was commissioned by IDEAS to write two poems for this series. Here is his poem Snow-Job: Why is Black Slavery "Whited Out" in Canadian History? An Incorrect Sestina.
Director Mina Shum makes her foray into feature documentary by reopening the file on a watershed moment in Canadian race relations – the infamous Sir George Williams Riot. Over four decades after a group of Caribbean students accused their professor of racism, triggering an explosive student uprising, Shum locates the protagonists and listens as they set the record straight, trying to make peace with the past.
Cool Black North explores the unique and vibrant Canadian Black Community and its role in our country’s contemporary identity. Through a series of intimate profiles, we are witness to a wide spectrum of life experiences, including the arts, entertainment, law, business, science and social activism. Though each person’s pathway to success is unique, they all share a common purpose and strength in overcoming often racially-based obstacles to succeed at the highest levels in their respective fields. Most importantly it’s their commitment to helping others and giving back to their communities that has earned them the recognition of the Harry Jerome Awards – these incredible people paint a diverse and compelling portrait of excellence in the documentary Cool Black North.
How Much Do You Know About Black History in Canada?
Available via CBC Curio
How much do we know about Black history in Canada? Who were the key figures? What do we lose when we don't include Black stories in our history? Moderated by Amanda Parris, host of Exhibitionists on CBC Arts, the panel includes: Nikki Clarke, Ontario Black History Society; Afua Cooper, Dalhousie University; Andrea Davis, York University; and Karen Flynn, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
This documentary reveals some of the hidden history of Black people in Canada. In the 1930s in rural Ontario, a farmer buried the tombstones of a Black cemetery to make way for a potato patch. In the 1980s, descendants of the original settlers, Black and White, came together to restore the cemetery, but there were hidden truths no one wanted to discuss. Deep racial wounds were opened. Scenes of the cemetery excavation, interviews with residents and re-enactments—including one of a baseball game where a broken headstone is used for home plate—add to the film's emotional intensity.
Check out other great films and documentaries on Black communities and history in Canada from Centennial Libraries!