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Belleville’s library invites people to learn about Black History Month

By Martin Allen [1]

BELLEVILLE – The Belleville Public Library [2] hopes people take away a greater appreciation of black history from a display it set up in celebration of Black History Month.

The display features material on Martin Luther King Jr., Henrietta Lacks and Barack Obama. There’s also material written by Solomon Northup and Lawrence Hill.

Shannon Bryan, co-ordinator of information and web services for the library, explains what she hopes the display will give people.

“A better appreciation of black history, not only in Canada but throughout North America,” she explains “Hopefully our patrons will discover something or someone they didn’t know about before.”

She urges people to visit a Government of Canada website [3] to learn more about black history. Bryan said she learned a few things herself.

“What I learned from browsing this site is that about 10 per cent of the United Empire Loyalists that settled in the Maritime provinces were black people who were enslaved and were offered their freedom if they joined the British side during the war of American independence,” she says. “As someone who is interested in the history of the United Empire Loyalists I found this information quite fascinating.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to celebrate our diversity.

“This year, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, let us never forget the stories of black Canadians’ courage in the face of intolerance,” he said in a statement. “Diversity is our greatest strength, and we must always continue to build a country that affords equality and opportunity for all.”

Black History Month is celebrated every February.