French-language content for this topic on Alberta.ca is currently being developed. Information will remain available on the Alberta Education website until this is complete.

La page correspondante en français est en cours de préparation sur le site Web Alberta.ca. Pendant cette période de transition, l'information qu'elle contient demeure disponible sur le site Web du ministère de l'Éducation.

Stories of courage

Alberta's current social studies curriculum provides students with many learning opportunities to value the diversity, respect the dignity, and support the equality of all human beings. There is a strong focus on Canadian history, including issues related to the histories, cultures, and contributions of people of African and Caribbean descent. The Kindergarten to Grade 12 Social Studies Programs of Study also provide opportunities for students in all grades to examine current events.

Quick facts:

  • John Ware was Alberta's first settler of African descent, arriving in the foothills in 1882, before Alberta was a province. John Ware helped to lay the foundations of the ranching industry in western Canada.
  • In 1954, Calgary-born Violet King Henry became the first black person to graduate law in Alberta and to be admitted to the Alberta Bar, and the first black female lawyer in Canada.
  • Alberta has the third-highest black population in Canada: 129,390 (2016 census).
  • On January 31, 2017, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley officially proclaimed February as Black History Month. Through the proclamation, Alberta joined British Columbia, Ontario, and Québec in officially recognizing Black History Month.
  • The Government of Canada officially recognized Black History Month in 1995.
  • The United Nations proclaimed 2015–2024 the Decade for People of African Descent.

Suggested online resources

The following online resources are intended to help teachers, students, and families learn about, recognize, and honour the histories, cultures, and contributions of people of Caribbean and African descent.

Alberta Human Rights Commission
Learn about Black History Month from the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Government of Canada
Access information, videos, and educational resources from the Government of Canada.

Black Military History
Learn about the proud tradition of Black Canadians in uniform.

Historica Canada
Bring Black history into the classroom with this Historica Canada education guide.

Access videos, virtual museum tours, timelines, and archives on 2learn.ca.

CBC: Being Black in Canada
Watch "Being Black in Canada" from CBC News.

Black History Canada
Watch "Black History Canada: Heritage Minutes" videos and access learning resources.

Heritage Minutes: Richard Pierpoint
Watch this "Heritage Minutes" video about Black Loyalist, Richard Pierpoint.

Heritage Minutes: Viola Desmond
Watch this "Heritage Minutes" video about civil rights activist, Viola Desmond.

Black History Month Events - Edmonton
Participate in Black History Month 2019 events in Edmonton.

CBC Digital Archives
Access CBC digital radio and television archives celebrating Black history.

CBC Kids: Black History Month
Learn about Black History Month from CBC Kids.

Documentary: Amber Valley, Alberta
Watch the documentary: "Secret Alberta: The Former Life of Amber Valley".

Resource Guide on Canada's Black History
Access an annotated resource guide on the history of Canada's Black community.

Black Pioneer Settlement in Alberta
Learn about Alberta's Black pioneer heritage.

Black Heritage EduKits
Black Heritage EduKits: elementary and secondary learning and teaching resources.

AfroQuiz 2019
Participate in AfroQuiz 2019 — a free educational competition for kids.

"We are the Roots" Documentary
Learn about the stories of African American settlers to the Canadian prairies.

Heritage Minutes: Underground Railroad
Learn about enslaved African Americans who escaped to Canada.