Lakehead Celebrates Black History Month


In honour of Black History Month, Lakehead University International (LUI) and the Office of Human Rights and Equity (OHRE) are thrilled to invite the Lakehead community to take part in a range of activities throughout the month of February. Organized and planned by LUI, OHRE, and our many on-campus and community partners, there will be many opportunities to engage in panel discussions, enjoy cultural activities that celebrate our diverse community, and participate in stimulating discussions and presentations by esteemed Black speakers who will share their scholarship and lived experiences.

We look forward to welcoming you each day to our Black History Month webpage to learn about our speakers and activities, celebrate key moments in Black history, and to enter to win prizes. Visit this page often as more events and opportunities to participate and engage in are forthcoming. We hope to see you soon!  

- James Aldridge, Vice Provost, International & Dylan Mazur, Director, Office of Human Rights and Equity


Black Celebratory Moments in History!

Celebrating our Black Alumni Excellence!


Khalid Adam Osman Yahia, HBSc Geology


Opeyemi Adeoye, BSc Nursing


Adekunbi Zainab Arogundade, MA Sociology


Bolu Fabanwo, HBComm


Bobbi Eegunnike, BEng Chemical


Etchean Assemian, BA Gerontology


Lolade Olatunde, BA Political Science Pre-Law


Jonathan Erua, HBA Economics

2021 Black History Month Events

October 2021

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Working Together...Lakehead Faculty Celebrate Black History Month!

The events of the past year have highlighted for me how little we are taught and know of Black Canadian history, and how easy it is to think that in Canada we are somehow immune to the anti-black racism that exists in other countries. I am grateful to all the organizers of Black History Month who are putting together a roster of activities to help all of us learn more while also providing us with an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of Black Canadians' contributions to our country.

- Dr. Rhonda Koster, Deputy Provost and Vice Provost Teaching & Learning

The Black history in Ontario and specifically in Simcoe county runs deep.  As one of my favourite book titles states "We're Rooted Here and They Can't Pull Us Up!". I am drawn to the history of Black Canadians, as it is full of resilience and strength.  Many Canadians don't know that slavery happened in Canada and this is unfortunate.  However, as dialogue about the experience of Black Canadians becomes more mainstream, hopefully non-Black people will start learning more about the history of Black Canadians. 

- Alex Thomson, Contract Lecturer , Department of Education


Being an observer and participant of Black History month can serve as a catalyst to get to know both ourselves and others better. I am a White person. Immediately, that sounds odd to me as I rarely reflect on such. However, Black History month helps me to think differently. Was it not Socrates who suggested: “Know Thyself”? As one seeks to know oneself better we come to acknowledge our own self-concept. In doing so, we may potentially also come to realize the profound value of others. Apart from race and skin pigmentation differences we all share similarities. We all have goals, aspirations, hopes and dreams. We all have disappointments, failures and moments in life we simply wish we could take back. Indeed, by acknowledging our similarities therein rests potential for us all to build empathy one towards the other. In turn, we may individually and collectively be stronger and wiser. 

- Dr. Kevin Willison, External Adjunct Professor, Department of Sociology

Given this opportunity to voice my solidarity to the Black community at Lakehead, I want to say thanks for welcoming our words. As a professor and program Chair, I try to remain attentive to the experiences of Black students and I am committed to providing support where needed. In one of the courses I teach, Social Studies, we discuss the varied histories of the many Black communities in Canada. In Social Difference in Education, we examine some the structural and historical roots of racism in Canada and we identify resources to counter it. Finally, in Media and Digital Literacies, we look at stereotyping and essentialism in the media, the take up and appropriation of Black popular culture, and the cultural role of Black authors and directors in both mainstream and alternative media. There's more work to do, so let's keep building momentum!

- Dr. Michael Hoechsmann. Chair, Education Programs (Orillia)

Black Celebratory Moments in History!

Join us each day during the month of February as we unveil some key moments to celebrate in Black History in Canada and throughout the globe. Each day you visit, you get a chance to enter to win prizes (gift cards and/or prize packs) that will be randomly drawn at the end of February.  We hope you will join us daily to learn and celebrate key Black moments in history!

February 28

Lisa Gelobter invented the Gif. Thank her for making your tweets so funny!

February 27

The Black Panthers launched programs such as free dental care, free breakfast, and drama classes in underserved black communities.

February 26

One of the most prominent doctors of his time, Dr. Charles Drew created the first major blood banks, blood plasma programs and bloodmobiles.

February 25

A full-time nurse named Marie Van Brittan Brown invented the first home security system.

February 24

The Black Panther character first appeared in comics in 1966.

February 23

In 2008, Usain Bolt became the first man to win three world records at a single Olympics event.

February 22

The dance form of stepping originated in Africa. The African gumboot dance is credited as being stepping’s biggest influence.

February 21

In addition to being a millionaire entrepreneur, Madam C.J. Walker was a civil rights activist. In 1917, she was part of a delegation that traveled to the White House to petition President Woodrow Wilson to make lynching a federal crime.

February 20

Before he became an NBA legend, Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

February 19

In the 1800s, Philadelphia was known as the "Black Capital of Anti–Slavery" because of its strong abolitionist presence, which included groups like the Philadelphia Anti–Slavery Society.

February 18

The first recorded Black person to arrive in Canada was an African named Mathieu de Coste who arrived in 1608 to serve as interpreter of the Mi'kmaq language to the governor of Acadia.

February 17

Musician Stevie Wonder recorded the cries of his newborn daughter, Aisha Morris, for his popular song, "Isn't She Lovely?"

February 16

African American baseball legend Jackie Robinson had an older brother, Matthew, who won a silver medal in the 200-meter dash at the 1936 Olympics. He came in second to Jesse Owens

February 15

In 1881, Sophia B. Packard and Harriet E. Giles founded what would become the first college for Black women in the United States. The school was named Spelman College after Laura Spelman Rockefeller and her parents, who were abolitionists. Laura was also the wife of John D. Rockefeller, who made a significant donation to the school.

February 14

Barack Obama has won two Grammy Awards. He was first honored in 2005 for the audio version of his memoir, Dreams from My Father (best spoken word album), and received his second Grammy (in the same category) in 2007 for his political work, The Audacity of Hope.

February 13

Cathay Williams became the first and only female Buffalo soldier in 1866. She would pose as a male for two years until a doctor discovered that she was a woman, which led to her immediate discharge.

February 12

Lincoln University in Pennsylvania became the first degree-granting institution of higher education for African Americans. It paved the way for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

February 11

The "King of Pop," Michael Jackson, co-wrote the single "We Are the World" with Motown legend Lionel Richie. The track became one of the best-selling singles of all time, earning millions of dollars donated to famine relief in Africa.

February 10

At a time when universities did not typically offer financial assistance to Black athletes, African American football star Ernie Davis was offered more than 50 scholarships.

February 9

When African American neurosurgeon Ben Carson was a child, his mother required him to read two library books a week and give her written reports, even though she was barely literate. She would then take the papers and pretend to carefully review them, placing a checkmark at the top of the page to show her approval. The assignments inspired Carson's eventual love of reading and learning.

February 8

In 1938, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt challenged the segregation rules at the Southern Conference on Human Welfare in Birmingham, Alabama, so she could sit next to African American educator and activist Mary McLeod Bethune. Roosevelt would come to refer to Bethune as "her closest friend in her age group."

February 7

Scientist and Mathematician Benjamin Banneker is credited with helping to deign the blueprints for Washington, D.C.

February 6

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on friend Maya Angelou's birthday, on April 4th 1968. Angelou stopped celebrating her birthday for years afterwards, and sent flowers to King's widow, Coretta Scott King, for more than 30 years, until Corettas death in 2006.

February 5

The first licensed African American Female pilot was named Bessie Coleman

February 4

In 1965, Lincoln Alexander ran in the Canadian federal election as the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada candidate in the Hamilton West electoral district but was defeated. He ran again in the 1968 federal election and on June 25, 1968, he won the seat, becoming Canada's first Black Member of Parliament

February 3

In December 1995, the Parliament of Canada officially recognized February as Black History Month, following a motion introduced by the first black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine, MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, who at the time was Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister. The motion was carried unanimously by the House of Commons.

February 2

Viola Desmond was an African Canadian woman from Nova Scotia. She lived in a time when black women were expected to be servants in houses, and black men were expected to be servants on trains. From a young age, Viola dreamed of having her own business. By 1946, she was making her dreams come true. Viola was only 32, yet she had her own beauty salon. She had set up a school to train other black women to work in the beauty business. She also had her own line of beauty products.

February 1

In 1926, Carter Godwin Woodson established Negro History Week, which later became Black History Month. The month of February was chosen in honor of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, who were both born in that month.

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