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BCRC’s Living History: 100 Years of Black History, Culture and Heritage to Highlight Hidden Histories of Black Montreal

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--June 3, 2019.

When we understand our history, we understand our place in the world; our sense of self is reinforced through the stories we attach to our history. As a result, losing one’s history can be akin to losing one’s sense of self. Black immigrants have made significant cultural, artistic and social contributions to present-day Montreal. However, this history is often overlooked and rarely told. By uncovering these hidden histories we not only affirm the place of Blacks in Montreal’s history, but also preserve our stories for future generations.

With the support of Canadian Heritage, the BCRC’s Living History: 100 Years of Black History, Culture and Heritage project is highlighting the hidden histories of English-speaking Black Montreal. Living History builds upon the BCRC’s previous project, Standing on their Shoulders, and will highlight sites, individuals, organizations and events of significance to Montreal’s English-speaking Black community. 15 Black youth have volunteered as researchers for the project and have received training in oral history, archival research and audio production. As a result, each youth will create a memoryscape of a topic of significance to the English-speaking Black community of Montreal. A memoryscape is a sound-walk that invites the listener to experience the hidden history of a place by listening to the memories of its past and present inhabitants.

Living History: 100 Years of Black History, Culture and Heritage will also create an oral history archive containing over 30 interviews with English-speaking Black Montrealers. This archive will provide researchers with new source materials helping to revitalize the historical work on Blacks in Montreal. Collecting these oral histories, and making them accessible to both the public and researchers, will help to spread the history of Black-English speaking Montreal while also making it possible for new histories to be written.

If you are interested in being a part of Living History: 100 Years of Black History, Culture and Heritage please contact the project team through email at livinghistory@bcrcmontreal.com or by phone at (514) 342-2247 ext.106. We hope to interview as many people as possible and value the variety of perspectives that different community members can bring. No memory is too big or too small and your participation will help pass on and preserve our stories for future generations.

To stay up to date with the Living History: 100 Years of Black History, Culture and Heritage project please like our Facebook page and subscribe to the BCRC’s newsletter Semaji.