History

African Heritage Month launch honours ‘courage and legacy’ of battalion

Premier Stephen McNeil unveils the official poster for African Heritage Month

Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs Tony Ince and Premier Stephen McNeil stand with the official poster for African Heritage Month 2016.
Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs Tony Ince (left), and Premier Stephen McNeil (right).   Kathleen Munro

Halifax’s Province House was brimming with colour on Jan. 27. People adorned vibrant ribbons to commemorate the provincial launch of African Heritage Month.

Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant, Premier Stephen McNeil and African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Tony Ince unveiled a poster that would mark the opening of the celebrations.

“We welcome all to come see, participate and recognize the accomplishments of African Nova Scotians,” said Ince. “Many of us haven’t really gotten a true idea of African Nova Scotians participation in history.”

Premier Stephen McNeil and Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant unveiling the poster for African Heritage Month .
Premier Stephen McNeil and Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant unveiling the poster for African Heritage Month 2016.   Kathleen Munro

Legacy of Commitment

The poster portrays this year’s theme, No. 2 Construction Battalion: The Legacy of Commitment. The battalion was the only predominantly African-Canadian one since Confederation. It consisted of black men who were initially denied enlistment during the First World War because of the colour of their skin.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the battalion and Ince said this piece of history is not only “a reason to celebrate, but an opportunity for all to learn.”

“Attend any event or celebration and look at the pride and the sense of how people feel accepted,” said Ince. “We are being acknowledged for our contributions in society. That speaks to why it’s so important to have it.”

A full list of events can be found here.