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Windsor Essex Black History Month Guide

Friday, January 31 to Saturday, February 29

Essex County is rich in Black history. Canadians of African descent have played important roles in the cultural, political, social, and economic progress of our communities. To celebrate our heritage here are some of the Black History Month events happening around our region. This year’s national Black History Month theme is “CANADIANS OF AFRICAN DESCENT: GOING FORWARD, GUIDED BY THE PAST.”

Windsor-Essex Black History Month Kickoff

Friday January 31, 2020. The purpose of the 2020 Windsor-Essex Black History Month Kickoff is to publicly recognize the importance of Black History Month as well as to encourage the community to participate in the array of Black History Month events happening locally. This event will include artistic performances (poetry, drumming and song) by local artists Teajai Travis, Mbonisi Zikhali, Kionna Wilson, the Cameroonian Association of South-Western Ontario Dance Group, and the Hidaya Diaspora Junior Dance Group, Black history highlights, the official release of the 2020 Windsor-Essex County Black History Month Activity Schedule of local Black heritage and cultural events. Hosted jointly by the Essex County Black Historical Research Society, the Windsor West Indian Association, and the Amherstburg Freedom Museum.

7 pm, Free
519.90.4316, Facebook:2020 Windsor-Essex County Black History Month Kickoff
The Caribbean Centre – 2410 Central Ave, Windsor

$1 off Admission to The Amherstburg Freedom Museum

February 1 – 28, 2020. The Amherstburg Freedom Museum is offering $1 off admission per person to celebrate Black History Month! In order to claim the discount, tell us when the Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church National Historic Site of Canada was built and by whom, when you purchase your ticket. This discount is only available in February and only if the correct response (in 1848 people fleeing American slavery built this church by hand to serve Amherstburg’s growing Black community) is given.

Tues-Fri 12 pm – 5 pm, Sat & Sun 1 pm – 5 pm
519-736-5433, amherstburgfreedom.org
Amherstburg Freedom Museum – 277 King St, Amherstburg


February 1 – April 19.  The Amherstburg Freedom Museum in partnership with the Artists of Colour will back by popular demand host the exhibit opening for “Journeys”, featuring original works of art plus new additions this year from a group of local Black artists who form the committee of the Artists of Colour. The opening will feature live entertainment, providing accompaniment to the exhibit.

Tues-Fri 12 pm – 5 pm, Sat & Sun 1 pm – 5 pm
Opening Reception Saturday February 8, 2020 from 4pm-7pm
Amherstburg Freedom Museum – 277 King Street, Amherstburg

Eastern Star & Masons Temporary Exhibit

February 1 – April 30.  On display at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum. Featuring artifacts from local Eastern Star and Mason groups.

Tues-Fri 12 pm – 5 pm, Sat & Sun 1 pm – 5 pm
Amherstburg Freedom Museum – 277 King Street, Amherstburg

Celebrate Black History Month all February at the DIA

Celebrate Black History Month at the DIA with visual art and art-making, poetry and prose, an array of musical traditions, dance, films and more. Check out dia.org/blackhistorymonth for a list of everything happening all month long.

Detroit institute of Arts – 5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI

Pregame Pick-up Basketball Game and Windsor Express

February 1, 2020. The Amherstburg Freedom Museum is partnering with the Windsor Express Basketball team to help kick-off Black History Month celebrations. The ticket includes admission to the Pregame Pick-up Basketball Game from 4-5pm and the Courtside Mixer from 6-7pm. $15 from your ticket goes back to the Amherstburg Freedom Museum. Come out to support the museum! For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact the museum at 519-736-5433.

Pregame 4 pm, Windsor Express Game 7 pm, $30
519-736-5433, amherstburgfreedom.org
WFCU Centre – 8787 McHugh St, Windsor

Tours of Sandwich First Baptist Church

February 1, 8, 15, 22, and 20, 2020. Every Saturday in February the historic Sandwich First Baptist Church will open its doors for public tours.  The congregation of Sandwich First Baptist Church has been in existence since approximately 1840 and the church, built by hand by members of Sandwich’s African Canadian community with bricks they made themselves from Detroit River clay, was dedicated in 1851.  Tours are free although donations are gratefully accepted.

1 pm – 4 pm
Sandwich First Baptist Church – 3652 Peter Street, Windsor

MUIR Explorers – Black History Month Challenge

Feb 6, 2020. For kids 7 – 12. Join us for activities featuring interesting people in Canada and what they have contributed to making Canada a wonderful country.  Bring your library card. Great material on astronomy, nature, bridges, and more will be available for you to checkout and continue exploring at home.  Space is limited.

519-255-6770 ext 7700, www.windsorpubliclibrary.com
Muir Library – 363 Mill St, Windsor – Second Floor

Chronicling Black Lives in Sandwich

February 6. The Museum Windsor Volunteer Group invites members of the public to a presentation entitled Chronicling Black Lives in Sandwich. Author and historian Irene Moore Davis will be talking about the process of writing, researching, and seeking feedback for the upcoming publication: Our Own Two Hands: A History of Black Lives in Windsor.

7 pm, Free
519.253.1812 ext 2532
Duff-Baby Interpretation Centre – 221 Mill Street, Windsor

The Genius and Meaning of the Underground Railroad Quilt to the Freedom Movement

February 7. The Coalition for Justice Unity and Equity will feature beautiful quilt patch creations, readings by youth, and historian Elise Harding Davis. Refreshments will be available.

6 pm
Sandwich Teen Action Group – 3735 King Street, Windsor


February 7-13, 2020. Afrofest 2020, presented by the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance, features guest speakers, vendors, discussions, and a showcase of Black student/community talent. The African Diaspora Festival (Afrofest) is a weeklong celebration that commemorates the history and work of the African diaspora and the contributions of Black people globally and locally. The intended focus will be on the Black radical tradition and its many facets in Black life related to the post-secondary experience and beyond. To view the complete Afrofest 2020 schedule, visit the website.

University of Windsor – 401 Sunset Ave, Windsor

Halls of Fame

February 7 -14. The Coalition for Justice Unity Equity will present “HALLS OF FAME.” “Starring in Our Hall of Fame, The Community is Going to Know Your Name, You Shine with the Brightest Flame, We wish Everyone to View Our Campaign”! Stroll through Our Halls which will be adorned with poster size photos of some of everyday leaders in recognition of their contributions to Windsor and region.

Monday to Friday, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Sandwich Teen Action Group – 3735 King St., Windsor

Contested Memory, Complicated History: Reflecting on the Earliest Black Lives in Sandwich and Windsor

February 9. Local historian Irene Moore Davis presents during the Sunday morning service at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Olinda.

10:30 a.m. All are welcome.
Unitarian Universalist Church of Olinda – 2953 Olinda Side Rd, Ruthven

Windsor West Indian Association’s annual Black History Brunch

February 9.   Windsor, featuring delicious Caribbean cuisine. Tickets are also available at the door.

12:30-5:30 pm, $20/Adult, $10/Child
Caribbean Centre –  2410 Central Ave, Windsor

The Unity of Our Community

February 15. The Unifor Local 444 Aboriginal Workers of Colour Caucus Committee invites everyone to its annual Black History Month Celebration, “The Unity of Our Community,. This event will feature soul food, performances, poetry/spoken word, guest speakers, displays, vendors, prizes, and more. Featured contributors will include historian Elise Harding Davis with a tribute to her sister, the late Shelley Harding-Smith, Canada’s first African Canadian female master electrician, historian Irene Moore Davis, and author, spoken word artist and drummer Teajai Travis. All are welcome.

1 pm – 5 pm, $15
Unifor Local 200-444, 1855 Turner Road

Black History Month Ekphrastic Writing Workshop

February 18. Vanessa Shields of Gertrude’s Writing Room presents a Black History Month Ekphrastic Writing Workshop in collaboration with Talysha Bujold-Abu, Gallery Manager & Membership Coordinator of the Arts Council, Windsor Region. This workshop is a celebration of contemporary artists of colour.  Our two-hour workshop will present an artist’s work without context followed by a written response to the art guided by a writing prompt, and then a discussion about the artist, the history of his/her/they work, and sharing of the written work. The intention of this workshop is to engage with visual art through writing and discussion. Bujold-Abu’s expertise with contemporary artists of colour will enable writers to discover new artists, to learn about these artist’s rich creative lives, to write in response to this art, and finally to celebrate the intersection of visual art and writing with contemporary artists of colour.

Register by Sunday, February 16 at www.gertrudeswritingroom.com
6:30pm-8:30pm, $50.00
Gertrude’s Writing Room, The Stable Yard at the Coach House, Willistead Park – 1899 Niagara Street, Windsor

Destinations of Freedom in North America: Bridging Histories of the Underground Railroad

February 20. Join the Essex County Black Historical Research Society for a fascinating talk by visiting Fulbright scholar Maria Esther Hammack (University of Texas at Austin.) Hammack will present her research regarding the experiences of enslaved and free Black women, men, and children who formed Black communities in Mexico in the Underground Railroad era. Hammack will highlight journeys and experiences that enslaved and free Black people, from the United States, undertook as they fled South, to Mexican destinations in search for freedom. She will showcase some of the channels of liberation engineered by freedom-seekers and describe how she has been able to reconstruct some of their journeys.  Additionally, Maria will speak briefly on how she reconsiders the Underground Railroad to be inclusive of experiences, geographies, and freedoms North and South of US slavery.

7 pm, Free
519.890.4316, www.citywindsor.ca/residents
Chimczuk Museum – 401 Riverside Drive West, Windsor

Black History Tea

February 23. The Windsor West Indian Association’s annual Black History Tea. Come for tea and vibrant Black history discussion!

2 pm 5 pm, Admission by donation
Caribbean Centre – 2410 Central Avenue, Windsor

Black Kids In Action: It’s Us

Feb 26, 2020. They are telling a story, they are acting a part, they are letting the world know what we are expected to do. It is about time they project because they are black, bold and beautiful. It tells of the time in the past, how we should practice it now and why it would be essential in the future.

7 pm, $15-$25
Capitol Theatre – 121 University Ave W, Windsor

Green Bean Reads

February 27.  Kimberly Simmons will tell the story of her ancestor Caroline Quarrls Watkins’ epic journey from slavery in Missouri to freedom in Sandwich. There will also be an open mic for those who wish to read passages from the great treasure trove of Black and African Diaspora literature. The Green Bean Reads series is presented by the Windsor Storytellers Collective on the fourth Thursday of every month.

7 pm
Green Bean Café – 2320 Wyandotte St. W. lower level

Black history Month Event

February 28-29, 2020. The Nigerian Canadians for Cultural, Educational and Economic Progress will be hosting a two-day Black History Month Event. On February 28th, you are invited to explore Black history at Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Dresden Ontario, the Amherstburg First Baptist Church and the Amherstburg Freedom Museum. Seating is LIMITED so please RSVP to reserve your seat on the bus. Pick-up time 9:00 a.m., drop off time 6:00 p.m. Location: 3176 Walker Rd, Windsor ON, N8W 3R5. Saturday, February 29th will mark the last day of Black History Month and NCCEEP will be celebrating at Mackenzie Hall, 3277 Sandwich Street West in Windsor, 2:00-5:00 p.m. Join in a celebration of the past as well as the history we are creating today for future generations with historical presentations, dance, poetry and more.

Unity Gala

February 29. Good People United against Racism and Intolerance will host a Unity Gala. This year’s event will feature red carpet interviews, a three course dinner, award presentations, live entertainment, a silent auction and more. The gala is an opportunity for all good people from all ethnic groups, religious backgrounds, organizations, unions and the entire spectrum of movements for social and economic justice to come together in unity and take a stand against racism and intolerance.

7 pm, $85
Caesars Windsor, Augustus Ballroom – 377 Riverside Dr. W., Windsor

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