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Guelph offers Black History Month programming

GUELPH - Black History Month (February) gives all Canadians the opportunity to participate in festivities and events to learn more about African history, culture and the contributions people of African descent have made to Canada and beyond.

The Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS) has chosen the theme of “Freedom” for this year’s Black History Month.

Freedom is the opportunity to speak, act and pursue happiness without unnecessary restrictions. Freedom leads to enhanced expressions of creativity, original thought and a high quality of life.

The month long celebration of Freedom will honour the legacy of many great individuals including Martin Luther King, Jr and Viola Desmond. This year marks the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination. He was a minister and activist who led the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s.

Throughout February events will be hosted by the Guelph Black Heritage Society including:

- Enjoy live jazz music and a screening of the documentary The Hot 8 at The Life Centre on Feb. 11.

Why We Can’t Wait: A Celebration of Jazz and Blues is presented in collaboration with Lakeside Hope House and Silence. Enjoy an evening of live music featuring Joni NehRita and a screening of the documentary The Hot 8 by filmmakers Noisemakers.

The event starts at 7pm. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. For tickets visit

- Poetry Slam at the eBar on Feb. 17, which is presented by Guelph Spoken Word and featuring Up From the Roots Dwayne Morgan and Paulina Reid.

The doors open and sign-up begins at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8pm.

Tickets are $10 or Pay-What-You-Can. The event is appropriate for all ages.

- Connect at the Guelph Civic Museum Music Night on Feb. 23. The audience will experience the music of the Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble directed by Brent Rowan. The event starts at 7pm, admission is free and donations to the Guelph Civic museum are welcome.

- Feel the drums at a family-friendly workshop featuring the Funga Drummers on Feb. 24. The doors of the Heritage Hall open at 1:30pm and admission is $10 or $35 for a family of four.

- Black History Month Celebration at Waterloo Region Museum on Feb. 25. Learn about the Underground Railroad Quit Codes and enjoy a family drumming workshop led by Gerima Harvey and Jeffrey Cummings. The event will be held from 1 to 3pm at the Waterloo Region Museum. Museum admission fees apply. For more information visit

Tickets are available at the door or online at

Email for more information.

The proceeds from Black History Month events will go towards GBHS programming and the ongoing “Rampin’ It Up!” campaign.

The purpose of this campaign is to achieve wheelchair accessibility into Heritage Hall via the Freedom Ramp, foyer and accessible washroom. The fundraising goal is $50,000 and the organization will accept donations of labour and materials to help off-set construction costs.

Since 2011 the Guelph Black Heritage Society continues to create a cultural, historical and social community centre within Guelph and Wellington County at Heritage Hall, formerly known as the British Methodist Episcopal Church, a significant destination on the 19th-century ‘Underground Railroad’ slave escape route.

February 9, 2018


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