High school students get Canadian insight into Black History Month
Published Wednesday, February 1, 2017 2:52PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 1, 2017 7:11PM EST
Students at John Rennie High School and at LCC were among the first to watch an educational entertainment show to mark Black History month.
Akilah Newton and her brother Omari are behind Slam Obsidian, a presentation that they created to focus specifically on people who had an impact in Canada.
"In the past what we've done is we've come to schools, we've talked about black history, but we've talked about American figures like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcom X, but this year we really placed the emphasis on Canadians such as Viola Davis Desmond, Harriet Tubman -- although she's American she had done a lot in terms of Canadian black history with the underground railroad, and then some influential athletes and musicians as well," said Akilah.
Omari was easily able to rattle off a list of athletes.
"Harry Jerome, Willie O'Ree, Herb Carnegie -- the first black man who should have played in the NHL but due to racism at the time he couldn't," said Omari.
Their presentation shows how many significant black Canadians earned reputations as troublemakers or lawbreakers, and yet in later years their efforts were recognized and rewarded with the Order of Canada.
Late last year the Bank of Canada decided that Desmond would be the first Canadian-born woman to appear on the $10 bill.
"Sometimes governments and laws aren't in tune with what is right and good," said Omari. "Today's rebel might be tomorrow's revolutionary."
The twins, who both attended Beaconsfield High School, said the accomplishments of black Canadians were ignored in the high school curriculum.
"We didn't learn any of this in history. It was just Quebec history. And it's really important especially because it's Canada's 150th birthday to talk about these influential people who have made a difference," said Akilah.
Their multimedia educational performance will be seen by students at multiple schools in Montreal before they head across Canada.
"We just want to inspire Canadians about some of the amazing figures they might not know about," said Omari.