Experts: Black History Month | February 2021
During Black History Month, Canadians celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate, and prosperous nation it is today. (Government of Canada)
Here are some experts from McGill University that can provide comment on this issue:
Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies
“Those who have power to exercise self-determination have power to control the writing and promotion of their history. Therefore, celebrating Black history and Black History Month is more than a perfunctory exercise that acknowledges Black people throughout the African Diaspora and Africa. Teaching, researching, and promoting the history of a globally subordinated and subjugated racial group is an innocuous yet profoundly revolutionary act of self-determination.”
Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies and a historian of post-Reconstruction United States, specializing on the African American experience. His research focuses on the intersections of the United States, Canada, and the African Diaspora.
wendell.adjetey [at] mcgill.ca (English)
Philip S. S. Howard, Assistant Professor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education
“Black History Month is an important opportunity for celebration, affirmation, and focused attention for Black communities doing the daily work of asserting our humanity. But it cannot and should not be allowed to take the place of meaningful and substantive attention to dismantling institutional anti-black racism.”
Philip S. S. Howard is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies. He works in the areas of critical race studies, anti-colonial studies, and antiblackness in education. His current research projects investigate contemporary Canadian blackface as a postracialist phenomenon, and Black people’s agency in educational contexts in Toronto, Halifax, and Montreal.
philip.howard [at] mcgill.ca (English)
Myrna Lashley, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry
“The celebrations and acknowledgement of the contributions of Black people to Canadian and Quebec history must go beyond Black History Month, as Black history is part of the Canadian and Quebec history – not a thing apart. This recognition is important for the growth and education of our children and the well-being of society.”
Myrna Lashley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and an Adjunct Researcher at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research of the Jewish General Hospital. She is the Chair of the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security, as well as Vice-chair of the board of the École Nationale de Police du Québec. Her current research interests are in cultural aspects of youth mental health, and cultural aspects of radicalization leading to violence.
myrna.lashley2 [at] mcgill.ca (English)