AMAPCEO Celebrates Black History Month

Publish date: Friday, February 01, 2019 update

February is Black History Month. AMAPCEO recognizes Black History Month as an occasion to highlight and to reflect on the accomplishments and contributions of Canadians of African descent, and on the work that remains to be done by all of us to promote equity in the workplace and in society. Learn more about the origins of Black History Month in Canada.

Read on to find out how you can celebrate.

Self-identify with an AMAPCEO equity-seeking group? Join an Equity Caucus today!

Learn more about the history of people of African descent in Canada:

Attend an event near you:

Show your recognition of Black history in Canada:


Read our profiles of prominent Black Ontarians and organizations:

Zanana Akande

Zanana Akande became Canada’s first black female cabinet minister in Bob Rae’s Ontario NDP government in 1990 where she helped pass the province’s first Employment Equity Legislation. Prior to her work in government, she worked for many years as a teacher and principal.

As minister of community and social services, Akande oversaw an increase in food bank funding and welfare benefits to Ontarians at the lowest income level, raised the social assistance rate to seven per cent from five per cent, increased the shelter allowance to 10 per cent from five per cent, and was responsible for the design and implementation of the Jobs Ontario Youth program.

Her role also led to the creation of the Ontario Anti-Racism Secretariat and the province's first mandatory employment-equity legislation, which would institutionalize rights for women in the workplace.

In 2018, Akande received the YWCA Toronto Women of Distinction Award, honouring her many years of political service and received a key to the city from Mayor John Tory for her work in fighting for equality and improving the social, economic, cultural and political status of women.

Akande is now retired from public service, but is still engaged in community advocacy.

(Zanana Akande’s history referenced from CBC and Toronto Star.)

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Photo: Heritage Ontario

In January 2019, the Ontario Black History Society gave Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Dresden (in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent) the Harriet Tubman Award for ‘black history preservation, programming and historical site stewardship’. 

Reverend Josiah Henson, who was born a slave in the United States and escaped to Canada, helped found Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site in 1841. The museum preserves the settlement where Henson and his wife lived.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is managed by the Ontario Heritage Trust. AMAPCEO member and museum curator, Steven Cook, said the site is visited by thousands of people from all over the world.

On February 3, the museum was honoured to host a visit by U.S. Consul General Greg Stanford who toured the newly unveiled exhibition, “I’ll Use My Freedom Well”.

U.S. Consul General Greg Stanford is given a tour of the exhibition "I'll Use My Freedom Well" by Steven Cook, Curator of Uncle Tom's Cabin

U.S. Consul General Greg Stanford is given a tour of the exhibition "I'll Use My Freedom Well" by Steven Cook, Curator of Uncle Tom's Cabin

TVO is airing a new documentary called Josiah by filmmaker Jared Brock, and narrated by Danny Glover. “It’s a fresh perspective on the remarkable contributions of one man to the rich African Canadian culture here in Ontario”, said Cook. Watch the video on the TVO website.

You can read more about Uncle Tom’s Cabin on the Ontario Heritage Trust website

More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, the Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees is a bargaining agent that represents 12,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in eleven cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth; Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; Public Health Ontario; Health Quality Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council and the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner.

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