Throughout February, we recognize Black History Month at King's. This is a further opportunity to bring awareness of Black history and culture to the King's community. King's continues to work for further diversity and inclusivity.

Each year, Black History Month has a specific theme, giving us a focus to reflect on and learn about, as we think about and celebrate the contributions of Black people. The theme for Black History Month 2024 is “Black resistance.” We can understand this theme to mean celebrating the ways in which Black people have resisted oppression, discrimination, and prejudice over history.

Jennifer Slay, King's Director of Director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization, talks about Black History Month.

BIPOC Student Support Group

This is an important time to recognize the experiences of people of colour on campus and their daily life. Shifting Perspectives, KUCSC, and King's Student Affairs are teaming up to facilitate a BIPOC Student Support group. This is a safe place for students to be heard, seen and relate to one another. There will be conversations regarding racism, discrimination, microaggression sexism etc. This platform acknowledges each individuals’ differences and projects their voice on campus.

Meetings will be held in person every 2nd and 4th Wednesday in the Vitali Lounge in Wemple. You must register to join the group.

King's Courses

Learn more about Black History in one of these courses currently taught at King’s.

3301F/G (In)Equality and Violence

This course examines two inter-related topics central to modern political theory and modern societies: first, equality and inequality; second, violence. Readings include canonical statements (Rousseau, Marx, Fanon, Arendt), contemporary treatments and case studies. These include the purpose of equality, the distribution of wealth, the psychology of violence and its justifications.

Black History Month Resources

Visit the Government of Canada's Black History Month page for information and resources.

Books for Black History Month

In this episode of the President's Podcast, Dr. David Malloy and Jen Slay, the Director of King's Office of EDID, discuss the book White Fragility, and how to reflect and grow in being anti-racist and share resources to support allyship, not just during Black History Month but throughout the year.

You can find more information about White Fragility below.

Book Recommendations from Jennifer Slay, King’s Director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization (EDID)

Watch Melanated View, the award-winning six-episode Rogers TV series co-executive produced by Jennifer Slay.

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome – Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary

What do repeated traumas, endured generation after generation by a people produce? What impact have these ordeals had on Black people today? With over thirty years of practical experience as a mental health professional, Dr. DeGruy helps to lay the necessary foundation to ensure the well-being and sustained health of future generations and provides a rare glimpse into the evolution of society's beliefs, feelings, attitudes and behavior concerning race. RC451.5.B53 L43 2017

Immigration, Race and Survival – Cecily Pouchet Alexander

This memoir begins with a childhood in Trinidad where classism is a theme, to immigration to Canada at nineteen, which opened her eyes to the challenges she would face. In this account of Alexander’s life story, the reader will see that her experiences of racism, mainly in two work settings, are clearly a series of microaggressions. Her use of critical race theory also helps put Canada's racism into context. F1035.B53 A37 2021

The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison

Mocked for her dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes, Pecola Breedlove yearns for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in. As her dream grows more fervent, her life starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. Morrison’s first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that characterize her writing. PS3563.O7 B5 2007

So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo

Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from police brutality and cultural appropriation to the model minority myth in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race, and about how racism infects every aspect of American life. E184.A1 O454 2019

Becoming – Michelle Obama

In her memoir, Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her time at the world’s most famous address. Warm, wise, and revelatory, this is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same. E909.O24O33 2018

The Path Made Clear – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah shares what she sees as a guide for activating your deepest vision of yourself, offering the framework for creating not just a life of success, but one of significance. The book’s ten chapters are organized to help you recognize the important milestones along the road to self-discovery, laying out what you really need in order to achieve personal contentment, and what life’s detours are there to teach us. Available through London Public Library.

The Book of Negroes – Lawrence Hill

A sweeping story that transports the reader from a tribal African village to a plantation in the southern United States, from the teeming Halifax docks to the manor houses of London, The Book of Negroes introduces one of the strongest female characters in Canadian fiction, one who cuts a swath through a world hostile to her colour and her sex. Watch the miniseries on CBC Gem. PS8565.I444B66 2007

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo

Robin DiAngelo, an antiracist educator, illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility. Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviours, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue.

Recommendations from King's Library

Black political thought from David Walker to the present – Sherrow O. Pinder, editor

A unique anthology of speeches and articles from over 150 years of African-American history, these writings and discourses provide in-depth examinations and critical analyses of topics including slavery, reconstruction, race and racism, Black nationalism and Black feminism, from a range of perspectives.  This is a comprehensive and informative account of how these issues have fundamentally shaped and continue to shape Black political thinking and African American politics. E185.61 .B594 2020

Being somebody & Black besides: An untold memoir of midcentury Black life – George B. Nesbitt

A keen observer and narrator of race, the author recounts his bitter struggles and incredible triumphs, shared by Black men and women in America. His beautifully written memoir is a rare example of a sustained first-person narrative about Black life in the mid-20th century. While many of his experiences may resonate with readers, others will provide insight into Black life and its place in the struggle for racial justice. E185.97.N47 A3 2021

From my mother's back: A journey from Kenya to Canada – Njoki Nathani Wane

In this warm and honest memoir, celebrated academic Njoki Wane shares her journey from her parents' small coffee farm in Kenya, where she helped her mother in the fields as a child, to her current work as a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Moving smoothly between time and place, Wane uses her past to illuminate her present. F1035.K46 W35 2020

"Where are you from?": Growing up African-Canadian in Vancouver– Gillian Laura Creese

Informed by feminist and critical race theories, and based on interviews with women and men who grew up in Vancouver, this study explores how the second generation in Vancouver redefine their African identities to distinguish themselves from African Americans, while inundated with popular representations of Blackness from the United States, and continue to experience everyday racism that challenges belonging as Canadians. F1089.5.V22 C744 2020

They call me George: The untold story of Black train porters and the birth of modern Canada – Cecil Foster

Drawing on the stories and legends of several influential early Black Canadians, this book narrates the history of a very visible, but rarely considered, aspect of Black life in railway-age Canada. These porters, who fought against the idea of Canada as “White Man's Country,” open only to immigrants from Europe, fought for and won a Canada that would provide opportunities for all its citizens. HD6528.R3F67 2019


Biographical dictionary of enslaved Black people in the Maritimes – Harvey Amani Whitfield

This important book sheds light on more than 1,400 brief life histories of mostly enslaved Black people. The author unearths the stories of men, women, and children from various points of origin, including Africa, the West Indies, the Carolinas, the Chesapeake, and the northern states, who would not otherwise have found their way into written history, and showcases the remarkable range of the Black experience in the Atlantic world. HT1052.M37W458 2022

Reckoning with racism: Police, judges, and the RDS case – Constance Backhouse

In 1994, a white police officer arrested a Black teenager, placed him in a chokehold, and charged him with assault and obstructing arrest. In acquitting the teen, Judge Corrine Sparks – Canada’s first Black female judge – remarked that police sometimes overreacted when dealing with non-white youth. Reckoning with Racism considers the RDS case, in an enthralling account of the country’s most momentous race case. KE4395.B33 2022

Out of the sun: On race and storytelling – Esi Edugyan

In this groundbreaking, reflective, and erudite book, two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize winner and internationally bestselling author Esi Edugyan illuminates myriad varieties of Black experience in global culture and history. Edugyan combines storytelling with analyses of contemporary events and her own personal story in her dazzling first major work of non-fiction. NX650.R34 E38 2021

Black writers matter – Whitney French, editor

An anthology of African-Canadian writing, Black Writing Matters offers a cross-section of established writers and newcomers to the literary world who tackle contemporary and pressing issues with beautiful, sometimes raw, prose. An "invitation to read, share, and tell stories of Black narratives that are close to the bone," this collection feels particular to the Black Canadian experience. PS8235.B53B53 2019

The sleeping car porter – Suzette Mayr

This novel brings to life an important part of Black history, from the perspective of a gay Black man living in a culture that renders him invisible in two ways. Baxter's name isn't George. But it's 1929, and Baxter is lucky to have a job as a sleeping car porter. So when the passengers call him George, he smiles and nods and acts invisible. What he really wants is to go to dentistry school, but he'll have to save up a lot of tips to get there. PS8576.A9 S54 2022

Finding Edward: a novel – Sheila Murray

Cyril Rowntree migrates to Toronto from Jamaica in 2012. A chance encounter leads Cyril to a suitcase full of photographs and letters dating back to the early 1920s. Cyril is drawn into the letters and their story of a white mother's struggle with the need to give up her mixed-race baby, Edward. Abandoned by his own white father as a small child, Cyril looks for the rest of Edward's story. As he unearths fragments of Edward's itinerant life, he discovers hidden pieces of Canada's Black history and gains the confidence to take on his new world. PS8626.U77825 F56 2022

The Journey Prize Stories 33: The best of Canada's new Black writers – David Chariandy, Esi Edugyan & Canisia Lubrin, editors

This much-anticipated, game-changing special edition of Canada's premier annual fiction anthology celebrates the country's best emerging Black writers. For over thirty years, The Journey Prize Stories has consistently introduced readers to the next generation of great Canadian writers. The 33rd edition proudly continues this tradition by celebrating the best emerging Black writers in the country. e-book

Western Libraries has a Black Resources Collection – a broad collection of fiction and non-fiction works encompassing the Black diasporic experience, highlighting its rich cultural history and influence. The titles were selected and compiled by Black mental health counsellors, African Canadian scholars, and students in Western's Black Student Association (BSA).

There are also three special guides available for Black History Month:

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