There’s no such thing as too much knowledge!

It’s February! And what does that mean? It’s Black History Month!

Since Dec. 1995, February is recognized as the official month to celebrate Black leaders, Black history, and Black excellence. Throughout the month, there are different events and celebrations on campus and even at your workplace to raise awareness and celebrate the culture.

In addition to attending these celebrations, it’s essential that you learn about Black history and prominent figures who advocated for the rights of Black people. Not sure where to start? don’t worry, we have you covered! Here are some places in Ontario where you can learn about Black history.

Underground Railroad Museum

A picture of John Freeman 's log cabin that was used as a terminal.
Photo via The Charity Report

The Underground Railroad played an integral role for fugitive enslaved people seeking refuge in Canada. It is considered the first freedom movement, where people worked together for justice and freedom. It involved a conductor Harriet Tubman, who would lead people to freedom. Thus, she was responsible for moving passengers from one station to another, until they arrived at a terminal in Canada or Northern U.S.

At the museum, you’ll learn more about the individual journeys and the harsh conditions people endured. Some historic attractions on-site include John Freeman Walls’ homestead that was used as at terminal. Plus, the Peace Chapel was built in honor of Civil Rights activist, Rosa Parks.

Stewart Memorial Church

The Stewart Memoria church in Hamilton is made up of brown bricks.
Image via The Historical Marker Database

Located in Hamilton, Stewart Memorial is more than a place of worship; it’s a place where former enslaved people found refuge.

Over the years, this church continues to serve as a religious and cultural centre for the Black community. Not to mention, it has managed to preserve its rich heritage, where the church still sings spirituals, passed down from the congregation who sang them along the Underground Railroad.

The Black Mecca Museum

Exhibits at the Black Mecca Museum highlighting the history of the Black community in Chatham-Kent.
via Doors Open Ontario

Uncover the journey of the Black community at the Black Mecca Museum. Through exhibits and artifacts, you’ll learn about the stories of enslaved people and prominent Black individuals such as Mary-Ann Shadd Cary.

During the 1850s, she was an activist in the Underground Railroad refugee communities. Likewise, she started the Provincial Freeman, an anti-slavery newspaper dedicated to advocating for equality, integration, and self-sufficiency for the Black community in Canada and the US!

Additionally, you’ll learn about the city’s development, such as the construction of schools and churches. Plus, if you’re interested in learning more about Chatham’s history, here’s a virtual tour. Likewise, you can always visit in person instead!

Amherstburg Freedom Museum

A picture of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum. The museum looks similar to a house.
via Amherstburg

Located in Amherstburg, this museum highlights the journey of African Canadians along with their contributions.

Moreover, Amherstburg was considered a haven for freedom seekers to escape slavery in the United States. Along the museum complex, you’ll discover the Nazrey A.M.E. Church and Taylor Log Cabin – home to George Taylor, a former enslaved person.

Through its exhibits, you’ll discover the routes of escapees via the Underground Railroad and how people built their new lives.

Now that you’re aware of the places in Ontario where you can learn Black History, go ahead and take a road trip. It’s essential that you learn about the history of different equity groups in order to become stronger allies.

Black Excellence Scholarship

A guest speaker dressed in a flannel shirt is engaging with students at the Black Excellence Showcase.
via author

At IGNITE we’re committed to creating an inclusive environment where students who identify as Black, African, and Caribbean can thrive and achieve their academic goals. Through our initiatives and partnerships with Black Student Support and Engagement, we’re here to empower and support all Black students, right on campus.

As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, we’re taking the time to highlight exceptional Black leaders. Yup, that’s right!

For the entire month of February, Black students can apply for IGNITE’s Black Excellence Scholarship. Five students will receive $1000 based on their academic standing, community involvement, and leadership roles. What are you waiting for?

Don’t wait too long to apply. Applications will close on Feb. 29!

Feature image via Unsplash by Library of Congress

Here are some works of art to discover this Black History Month.

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