The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre is celebrating Black History Month in February with special tours of its award-winning Follow the North Star exhibit.
Black History Month is celebrated across the country every February and offers the opportunity for everyone to learn about these stories and the many important contributions of Black Canadians.
Museum visitors are invited to learn more about local Black History at the St. Catharines Museum with 60-minute guided tours every Thursday in the month starting from Feb. 6 and every Saturday starting Feb. 1. Tours will start at 10:00 a.m. and will run till the museum closes at 5:00 p.m.
Follow the North Star is a permanent exhibit at the museum and recognizes the contributions of local Black Canadians to the history of St. Catharines, Niagara and Canada as a whole.
The museum is also hosting screenings of the 2019 documentary “Risking Everything: A Story of Niagara’s Freedom Seekers”, following the Saturday tours at 11:00 a.m. The documentary, which was screened by the museum as a Canadian premiere last year, tells the story of African-Americans who made their dangerous journey from slave states to Canada, by crossing the Niagara River before the U.S. Civil War.
The guided tours and film screenings are open to everyone who desires to attend and admission is by donation.
The St. Catharines Public Library, located on 54 Church Street, will also be hosting a special talk on Feb. 5, starting at 7:00 p.m. entitled Black History In St. Catharines: Exploring the Tracks Beyond the Underground Railroad. The talk seeks to delve into the history of the Black community in St. Catharines and explore stories of escaped slaves who found freedom and built their legacies here. By digging deeper into this history, the library wants to consider more challenging narratives of racism and discrimination here in the City.
“Black History Month is an important time to recognize, commemorate and discover the legacy of Niagara’s Black Canadians,” said Kathleen Powell, curator of the St. Catharines Museum. “Black history is a vital part of the Canadian story, and the special guided tours will connect visitors with important Canadian history, such as Harriet Tubman, St. Catharines’ role in the Underground Railroad, and more.”
Additionally, a number of events geared towards Black History will be taking place. Interested individuals are encouraged to search online and look around the St. Catharines downtown area for posters advertising some of these events.
At Brock, the Human Rights and Equity department will be facilitating a number of meetings and a free boxing class geared towards Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) and Queer, Trans, People of Colour (QTPOC). A variety of other school clubs and affiliated organizations will also be hosting events for Black History Month. Students who are interested in attending any such events are encouraged to visit ExperienceBU where each activity and meeting will be posted in detail.
Visit www.stcatharinesmuseum.ca to learn more about its Black History Month activities, the Follow the North Star exhibit and other information about the museum, including a link to the museum blog, which will feature a variety of Black History Month posts. The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre is located at 1932 Welland Canals Parkway and is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.