6 Ways to Experience Black History Month Virtually

Written by Lorcan Archer - Content Marketing Specialist at Explorance.

Image of a black girl with flowers in line with Black History Month theme

This year’s Black History Month takes place at a time when much of North America and beyond is still engaging with significant public health measures – limiting our ability to responsibly gather, visit, or attend events celebrating this important time of year.

As a company dedicated to serving the educational sector, Explorance has gathered some informative and illuminating online events and resources available this month.  

Whether it’s a short film, a poetry session, or a reflective art piece, we hope these online resources can provide you with new insight and new perspectives on North America’s vibrant Black history.

  1. Smithsonian Institution’s Heritage and History Month
    The world’s largest museum, the Smithsonian Institution, is presenting a packed schedule of free online events, presentations, and discussions throughout Black History Month. These range from engaging contemporary discussions, including ‘An Evening with Rev. Jesse Jackson in Conversation with David Masiciotra’ on February 16, to a discussion group on the economic impact of COVID-19 on the African American community on February 23, to more historical pieces, like ‘Charlie Parker: A Centennial Spotlight,’ on February 26. To review the full list of online events and register, click here.
  2. McGill University’s Black History Month Events and Calendar
    McGill University has organized a considerable list of online events to recognize Black History Month. While the university is offering a 5-part workshop series for students (‘Being Black @ McGill’), free online events that are open to all include a lecture by renowned author Dr. Bettina L. Love on February 22, and the MASS Africa Speaks Conference over two days, from February 19 –20. The university has also put together a very substantial list of virtual events organized by external bodies, open to everyone, which have particular resonance for Montreal, Quebec, and Canadian communities. View the combined list of events here.
  3. National Film Board of Canada – Black Communities in Canada: A Rich Heritage
    Delving into decades of material, the Canadian National Film Board has put together a special selection of movies, documentaries, and shorts that seek to highlight the “realities of Canadian-Black communities.” This selection of 29 films highlights the richness of experiences that communities and individuals have experienced and are free to view on-demand. These range from 2019 ‘Ice Breakers’, which examines the challenges that underrepresented Black teenagers experience while playing Canada’s national winter sport – hockey, to 2015’s ‘Ninth Floor’, which presents an unflinching portrait of the protests and events that unfolded at Sir George Williams University in 1969. Click here to view the full selection.
  4. Black Theatre Workshop’s Virtual Poetry Jam
    Canada’s longest-running Black theatre company has now been operating for fifty years, a significant milestone for the Montreal-based organization. The workshop has long been dedicated to the “development and promotion of stories that celebrate Black society and culture”, delivering powerful performances that have made a significant impact on the national stage. This week sees the Black Theatre host its popular Poetry Jam in celebration of Black History Month. Click here for info, with the stream going live at 7pm on Friday, February 12.
  5. Toronto Black Film Festival
    Celebrating its 9th edition, the Toronto Black Film Festival is offering a grand total of 154 films this year, with a huge range of genres and talent represented. The festival is set to take place from February 10-21, with movies streamed completely online over this period. Anticipated titles featured this year include Youseff Delara’s gripping ‘Foster Boy’, and Ryan Singh’s science-fiction themed ‘H.E.N.R.I.’ The festival will also feature special live events, including ‘SHOW ME THE MONEY’, a special funding and support webinar designed to assist Black and racialized artists in the film and television industry.  Attendees can purchase individual tickets or an all-access pass for CAD $69. Note that feature films will only be viewable from Canada ISP locations. Click here for more information.
  6. Google Art & Culture – Black History and Culture
    A collaboration with 82 renowned museums and art collections across the United States, Google’s ‘Black History and Culture’ collection is a huge, on-demand, and free digital resource that offers online access to some of the US’s greatest Black art and history collections. Organized to celebrate Black History Month, this considerable repository of art and history offers high-detail, guided tours of renowned art pieces, interactive tributes, and multimedia presentations – such as the ‘We Love You Project’, which seeks to change the perception of Black men and boys in the US. The collection also offers extensive links to institutions that focus on the Black experience. To explore this expansive collection, click here.

Check back for more Black History Month related content over the course of February.

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