February 1 is the start of African Heritage Month and the NSCC Pictou Campus marked the date by raising the Pan-African flag.
In 1926 the second week of February was chosen as black history week because it encompasses the birthdates of two men who historian Carter G. Woodson felt were central to the history of people of African descent in North America.
They were Abraham Lincoln, born Feb. 12, 1809, and Frederick Douglas, born February 14, 1818.
“Because of the increasing popularity and acceptance of a weeklong celebration, 50 years later in 1976 it became known as Black History month,” said human rights activist and former Deputy Mayor of New Glasgow, Henderson Paris.
Nova Scotia has been celebrating African History Month since 1996.
Paris spoke to nearly 150 people gathered in the student commons section of the Pictou campus.
“We are indeed proud people. We are proud of the role our ancestors played in blazing a trail for us to follow and improve on. We are proud of the contributions they’ve made, the ones they are making and the ones future generations will make,” he said.
“We all know that our paths have not been an easy one to travel. Our burdens have indeed been heavy and our struggles and challenges have been tested over and over again. However, we persevered for hundreds of years and that strength, determination and commitment will continue to be our beacon of light guiding us forward together with one another. Change is here.”