The origins of Black History Month can be traced to 1926, when Black historian Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week to celebrate the history, contributions and culture of African-Americans. February was chosen to link the birth dates of Black activist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.
In Canada, official recognition came in the early 1950s when the Canadian Negro Women's Association successfully petitioned Toronto City Council to acknowledge the week. In the 1970s, the Council, after lobbying by the newly formed Ontario Black History Society, declared that February would be known as Black History Month.
National recognition followed on December 14, 1995 when the House of Commons unanimously agreed to a motion formally recognizing Black History Month and the importance of Black History for all Canadians.
As DRP marks its 40th anniversary this year, it’s important to acknowledge our first two black officers: Cst. Wally White worked for the Oshawa Police Department as a patrol officer and Constable Hal Leslie worked in Pickering Township Police Department prior to the forming of the Durham Regional Police, January 1, 1974. Hal Leslie was promoted to the rank of Detective after our amalgamation.
This year, Diversity Coordinator Cst. Pam Devine and Sgt. Emmy Iheme joined the Honourable David Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, at the kickoff to Black History month with the Ontario Black History Society.
Last year, A/Sgt. Keith Richards was honoured as a local hero by Trent University’s Black History Organizing Committee at their celebration event.
Take some time to learn about our Region's history and take part in the various celebrations this month.
white thumb (JPG file, 27.7K bytes)
One of our first black officers, Cst. Wally White (JPG file, 295.2K bytes)
Cst. Devine and Sgt. Iheme with the Honourable David Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (JPG file, 244.4K bytes)
A/Sgt. Richards accepts his local hero award at last year's Trent University event (JPG file, 445.2K bytes)