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Here's how you can celebrate Black History Month on the North Shore

From film screenings to author talks, there are numerous ways to engage with Black History Month in North Vancouver, West Vancouver and beyond
Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story, will be shown at the Kay Meek Arts Centre Feb. 1-2. | Kay Meek Arts Centre

February is Black History Month, a time to honour and celebrate the diversity, history and culture of Black people in Canada, and acknowledge the pioneers, trailblazers and notable figures that have helped shape the country’s history.

To celebrate the month, and its official theme of Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate; Future to Build, there is an abundance of resources and educational opportunities available across the North Shore and beyond. Here, we’ve rounded up four of the best.

North Shore Libraries

The North Shore libraries are rolling out their annual extensive list of Black History Month offerings, with the West Vancouver Memorial Library kicking things off Feb. 10 with a screening of Brother, the film adaptation of David Chariandy’s award-winning novel of the same name. There are also a number of educational reads for both adults and children, highlights of which include the library’s Anti-racism resource topic page, Celebrating Black Canadian Authors and Sci-Fi and Fantasy for Black History Month for adults, and Books Featuring Black Kids by Black Authors: Primary Grade for the younger lot.

Meanwhile at the North Vancouver City Library, those in search of education are invited to attend the Black History Matters program Feb. 17, in addition to a talk with author Valerie Jerome Feb. 21, where she will delve into her new memoir Races: The Trials & Triumphs of Canada’s Fastest Family. To round off the month, NVCL will also screen Canadian documentary film John Ware Reclaimed, Feb. 25.

Over at the North Vancouver District, library goers can expect to find resources that highlight the rich contributions of Black individuals throughout history, alongside a number of displays that highlight Black authors.

Visit the WVML, NVCL, and NVDPL websites for more information.

Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story

The Kay Meek Arts Centre is hosting a celebration of African Canadian hero Maurice Ruddick, a survivor of Nova Scotia’s 1958 Springhill Mining Disaster. The award-winning, one-person production tells the inspiring true story of the “singing miner” who kept hope and spirit alive for fellow miners, while trapped 4,000 feet underground with no food, little air, and even less hope of survival.

Feb. 1 - 2, Kay Meek Arts Centre. For tickets and more information, visit the Kay Meek site.

Mighty Jerome

The Vancouver International Film Festival is paying homage to North Vancouver’s very own Harry Jerome via a free screening of Mighty Jerome, the Charles Officer directed documentary that follows the rise, fall and redemption of the record-breaking track and field sprinter.

Feb. 4, VanCity Theatre. For more information visit the VIFF website.

Performance & Panel Discussion: The Uplift of the African Diaspora

Singer-songwriter, music producer and former Ohio Players frontman Dutch Robinson will hold a performance at Capilano University, likely to include classic solo hits like 'I Ain't Got Nothin'' and Can't Get Along Without You', alongside a discussion shortly after. 

Feb. 13, Capilano University. visit the Capilano University's website for more information. 

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.