Black History Month

Black History Month

Message from President & Vice-Chancellor, Kevin Wamsley

February is Black History Month. This celebration has its origins in the United States dating back to 1926 when the African American scholar, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, raised awareness of the African experience through school curricula. In Canada, where this experience included slavery, segregation, racism, and systemic discrimination, Black people and historic Black communities have been contributing to all sectors of society, shaping Canada’s culture and heritage for more than 400 years. Celebrated first in Toronto in 1979 and declared unanimously through a motion proposed by Canada’s first Black Senator, Donald Oliver, to Recognize Contributions of Black Canadians, February was proclaimed Black History Month in 2008. In 2022, we celebrate Black History Month across Canada.

At Nipissing University, we celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of Black students, staff, and faculty members in academic and campus life and their tireless advocacy and activism, whether individually or through collectives such as the Nipissing University Black Association for Student Expression (NUBASE) and the Caucus of Racialized Persons (CRP), towards issues of anti-racism, equity, and discrimination on our campus both past and present, difficult work that is sometimes performed within a context of trauma that is inflicted through racist actions and systemic injustices.

We recognize that systemic racism has pervaded Canadian institutions historically, and ours in particular. During my first few months as President, I’ve spent time talking at length with individuals and groups to better understand Nipissing University, its history, and how people experience the institution. I have been meeting regularly with equity-seeking groups and have heard about their experiences with racism, discrimination, and systemic issues at the University. These important conversations will provide the foundations for change on our campus, guided by our accountability to the Scarborough Charter, which requires the University to establish specific structures to address racism, provide support to recruit and support Black faculty, staff, and students, and to establish strong partnerships with Black-led organizations. We must take action to create an inclusive campus for every student and employee of Nipissing University. Systemic and cultural change will not be possible without the full participation, meaningful engagement, and accountability of all our community members.

Black History Month should be a catalyst for discussion, education and the celebration of students and colleagues, but anti-racism and social justice are year-round priorities that must be foundational in every aspect of campus life. Those of us who have never experienced racism and racial discrimination must educate ourselves and understand our responsibilities towards creating and sustaining an inclusive campus.

Thank you students and colleagues who have organized events at Nipissing University to celebrate Black History Month. Please join me in participating in the events listed below.  Events will continue to be promoted and populated throughout the month so we invite you to check back often.


About the Workshops

Jhanelle Peters portrait

Workshop: Mental Health Stigma in Black Community: Finding Black Joy

The Black community is impacted in terms of increased risk for mental health problems and their access to mental health care. Unfortunately, systemic barriers, cultural stigma and various healthcare inequities prevent the Black community from receiving the mental health treatment they need to navigate the many challenges they face.

While the Black community handles a great deal of inequities, they can also speak to stories of joy that catapult their strength, determination and resilience to support a positive outlook towards mental health.

This workshop will bring forth awareness, understanding and support that can be applied by all participants to assist in reducing barriers and amplifying strengths within the Black Community.

Jhanelle Peters Bio

Jhanelle is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and the Mental Health Clinician for the Toronto Raptors. Jhanelle also works with various grass-root community organizations as a Mental Health Professional and individual clients through her Toronto-based private practice Jhanelle Peters Psychotherapy.

With compassion and understanding at the forefront, Jhanelle works with individuals to identify strengths, tools and personal determination that can lead to positive and lifelong changes. With a background in Mental Health and Social Housing, Jhanelle has worked in both the United States and Canada, helping individuals and organizations uncover negative patterns and behaviours that make life and workplace settings challenging to navigate.


About Black History Month

Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) Webinars



Films and Documentaries


Books and Articles

  • Benjamin, Ruha. Race after technology: abolitionist tools for the new Jim Code. Massachusetts: Wiley, 2019.
  • Coates, TaNehisi. Between the world and me. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015.
  • Cole, Desmond. The skin we’re in: a year of Black resistance and power. Toronto: Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA), 2020.
  • Collins, Patricia Hill. Black feminist thought: knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. New York: Routledge, 2015
  • Cooper, Afua. The hanging of Angélique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal. Brantford, Ontario: W. Ross MacDonald School Resource Services Library, 2019.
  • Diverlus, Rodney; Hudson, Sandy; Ware, Syrus Marcus. Until we are free: reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada. Toronto: CELA, 2020
  • French, Whitney. Black Writers Matter. University of Regina Press, 2019.
  • Hasford, Julian. “Dominant cultural narratives, racism, and resistance in the workplace: A Study of the experiences of young Black Canadians." American Journal of Community Psychology 57, no. 12 (2016): 15870. doi:10.1002/ajcp.12024.
  • Hooks, Bell. Black Looks Race and Representation. New York: Routledge, 2015.
  • Kendi, Ibram X. How to be an antiracist. New York: One World, 2019.
  • Martis, Eternity. They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus and Growing Up. McClelland & Stewart. 2020.
  • Maynard, Robyn. Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from slavery to the present. Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing, 2018.
  • Mensah, Joseph. Black Canadians: History, experiences, social conditions. Halifax: Fernwood Publ., 2002.
  • Oluo, Ijeoma. So you want to talk about race. Basic Books, 2020.
  • Razack, Sherene. Race, space, and the law: Unmapping a White settler society. Brantford, Ontario: W. Ross MacDonald School Resource Services Library, 2017.
  • Rhoden, William C. Forty million dollar slaves: The rise, fall, and redemption of the Black athlete. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2007. • Roberts, L.M.; Mayo, A.J.; Thomas, D.A. Race, work, & leadership: New perspectives on the Black experience. Harvard Business Review Press. 2019.
  • Walker, Barrington. Race on trial: black defendants in Ontario’s criminal courts, 1858-1958. Toronto: Published for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History by University of Toronto Press, 2011.
  • Walker, Barrington. The history of immigration and racism in Canada: essential readings. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press, 2008.