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UM Black History Month figures (L-R): The first black man to graduate from UM, Hewburn Greenridge [MD/1920]; Lindley Abdulah, 42nd UMSU President in 1960; the first Black woman to attend UM, June Marion James [BSc/63, BSc(Med)/67, MD/67]; and Horace Patterson, 51st UMSU President in 1968-1969.

UM Black History Month figures (L-R): The first black man to graduate from UM, Hewburn Greenridge [MD/1920]; Lindley Abdulah, 42nd UMSU President in 1960; the first Black woman to attend UM, June Marion James [BSc/63, BSc(Med)/67, MD/67]; and Horace Patterson, 51st UMSU President in 1968-1969.

Black History Month is a time to remember, reflect and celebrate!

Get involved through the various events offered this February for BHM 2024

January 29, 2024 — 

February is Black History Month in Canada and to mark its significance, we will take a look back at some UM history, and share current resources and upcoming events that are open to all.

See more going on in February: 2024 UM Promoting Black Flourishing Fund projects and events

A glimpse of UM Black history makers

The photo associated with the story shows just a few noteworthy individuals associated with the University of Manitoba during the past 100 years. See more photos and read more about these historical figures.

Hewburn Greenridge [MD/1920] was the first black person to graduate from the University of Manitoba. Lindley Abdulah served as the 42nd UMSU President in 1960; Horace Patterson was the 51st UMSU President in 1968-1969; and UM medical student Tom Casey [BA/52, MD/57], who played for the Blue Bombers from 1950 to 1955, was named Winnipeg’s Citizen of the Year in 1956 and inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1964.

We also celebrate trailblazers like Dr. June Marion James, a pioneering Black physician, community leader, and passionate advocate for the Black community. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. James moved to Winnipeg in 1960 and was the first Black woman admitted to the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Medicine. She was recognized this year in the federal message commemorating Black History Month.

Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management professor, Leisha Strachan

Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management professor, Leisha Strachan [BPE/97], [BEd/99].

More recently, Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management professor, Leisha Strachan [BPE/97], [BEd/99], was recognized as one of the top 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women in 2022 by One-hundred ABC Women, an educational publication intended to highlight the accomplishments of Black Canadian women working in all sectors of society.

“Black History Month for me is a time of celebration and reflection,” says Strachan. “It is a time to celebrate Black excellence and community spirit but also a chance to reflect on the gift of freedom given to us by our Ancestors. With this gift is a responsibility to push forward and make our spaces better and welcoming for all Black people in our community.”

And just this past November, Joel Nichols [BFA/23] became UM’s 100th Rhodes Scholar and the very first from the School of Fine Arts. The prestigious scholarship provides Nichols (he/they) funding for two years of full-time, post-graduate studies at the University of Oxford in England.


Watch for related content posted across UM platforms throughout February highlighting the UM community and celebration of Black History Month.

See the 2024 UM Promoting Black Flourishing Fund projects and events.


Events: BHM 2024

Also see the Black History Manitoba February 2024 events calendar

Barbershop Talks: Black Men and Misconceptions

(in-person & Zoom)
Jan. 29, 6-8:30 P.M.
Swish Barbershop, rm 112, UMSU University Centre

The Barbershop Talks series will host a two-hour in-person (limited guests) event to bring awareness to addressing mental health concerns in our Black community. The aim is to arrive at strategies that would support Black young men and boys, along with the broader Black community, in seeking help with mental health concerns. Hosted by Warren Clarke (Anthropology).

Special door prize:
Raffling one pair of Jordan Ones to one lucky winner!

UMSU Black History Month Kick-Off Social

Feb. 2, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
VW’s Social Club, 66 Chancellors Circle, 3rd floor of UMSU University Centre
Kick off Black History Month with a night of dancing with DJ Code-E
$10 in advance ($15 at the door cash if available)

2nd Annual Panel: The Mental Health Effects of Anti-Black Racism

An in-person and online event
Feb. 6, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
At the Canadian Museum for Human Rights 85 Israel Asper Way Winnipeg (The Forks)
MTS Classroom

Read ‘It’s not just a moment’ to learn more about the effects of anti-Black racism.

Bonus airings

RogersTV will air this as a taped event on channel 9 or 105 depending on the cable box at the following dates and times:

Monday, Feb. 19 at 4pm; Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 9am; Saturday, Feb 24 at 3pm; Sunday, Feb. 25 at 11am; Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 7:30pm; Thursday, Feb. 29 at 8:30am


Hon. Uzoma Asagwara (they/them), Minister of Health, Seniors and Long-Term Care, Government of Manitoba
Phyllis Reid-Jarvis, MPH, PCC, CEO/Founder of Ultimate Potentials Corporation
Emmanuella Shaibu, Grade 12 student, Fort Richmond Collegiate
Abdikleir Ahmed, Executive Director, Aurora Family Therapy Centre
Antoinette Zloty, BSW, MSW, Project Leader, “Towards Positive Change to Promote Mental Health and Wellbeing for Black Canadians in Manitoba”
Daniel Hidalgo, founder of CommUNITY204 and Sabe Peace Walkers
Leslie Hackett, Winnipeg therapist, co-facilitator of Project Heal
Elizabeth Mahmoud, Registered Social Worker, Winnipeg
Nina Condo, BSW, Winnipeg School Division-Equity Advisory Committee, UM Social Work-program review Committee, Manitoba Agencies of Newcomer Serving Organization
Nedu Ejeckam, Registered Social Worker, Toronto

Moderated by Dr. Warren Clarke, assistant professor of anthropology at UM, and founder of The Afro-Caribbean Mentorship Program and the Barbershop Talk Series: Black Men & Misconceptions.

The Afro-Caribbean Mentorship Program (ACMP) and UM Black Alliance (UMBA) host this event focused on bringing awareness to addressing mental health concerns in our Black community. The Winnipeg-based initiative will focus on two main approaches: Recognizing Black people’s trauma and discussing mental health in the Black Community and seeking meaningful help to address trauma.

Building Bridges Beyond Borders for Black Betterment

UM Black Students Union online event

Feb. 7, 4 pm to 6:30 p.m.

RSVP/Registration required

The BSU is proud to present a panel discussion on Black Histories in Canada and the USA, investigating our similarities, differences, and critical paths to a possible convergence. The workshop is OPEN TO ALL!


“Beyond anti-racism, anti-discrimination statements and charters” (Scarborough Charter discussions) – online

Feb. 8, 3:30-6 p.m. CST


Dr. Barrington Walker: The Afterlife of the Scarborough Charter: Towards Black Thriving in Canadian Higher Education
Dr. Ajay Parasram: Institutional Deficiencies and Anti-Racist Foundations at the End of the EDI Era
Dr. Camisha Sibblis: Black Studies in Canada
Dr. Warren Clarke: Challenging the Canadian white Settler Ideology and its Homogenizing Acronyms, which Define and Homogenize Black Intersectional Lived Experiences

Moderator: Dr. David Westwood


Black Students Community Entrepreneurship Symposium

(Supported by the Promoting Black Flourishing Fund)

Feb. 8, 5 to 7 P.M.

Room 115 Drake Center, 181 Freedman Crescent.

This event will inspire innovative thinking, fostering a collaborative environment where aspiring entrepreneurs can network and learn from seasoned professionals. Snacks provided. More info at the Black Students Community Instagram.

Black Business Market

Feb. 9, 10 A.M. (9 A.M. for vendors)

Multi-Purpose Room (MPR), UMSU University Centre

Book a table, or come to browse the selection. More info at the Black Students Community Instagram.

Black Soul & Poetry Night

(Supported by the Promoting Black Flourishing Fund)

Black Students Union & UMSU

🗓️ Thursday, February 15
⏰ 7pm to 9pm
📍 IQ’s Café & Billiards, 3rd floor UMSU University Centre

Join us for an inspirational evening of powerful and passionate poetry at IQs Café & Billiards 🎤
Appetizers provided by Nyumbani African Delicacies.

Students are invited to sign up and read or perform! Deadline for performer sign up is February 12 @ 11:45pm. 
More info at the Black students Union Instagram.
All are welcome at this free event!


Supporting the Winnipeg Black Collective Event: Action Vision & Change dinner, symposium and keynote

Organized by UM Black Alliance (UMBA) & Afro-Caribbean Mentorship Program (ACMP)
Feb. 16
Fort Richmond Collegiate, 99 Killarney Ave.
5 p.m. Black Business Showcase
6:15 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. Program
Keynote: Canada’s Black justice strategy co-author Zilla Jones, BMA, JD

The Afro Caribbean Mentorship Program (ACMP) and the University of Manitoba Black Alliance (UMBA) will host its third annual, one-day (in-person & online) Black History Month (BHM) event. The evening’s festivities will celebrate Afro-Caribbean Black Canadian communities’ by paying homage to our history and celebrating Afro-Caribbean Black (ACB) people’s great accomplishments in our present times. The evening’s social gathering will encourage audience members to dance, sing and contribute to a thought-provoking panel discussion on the Black experiences in Winnipeg, empowering our ACB community members, and supporting local Black Businesses and Initiatives. Supported by the Promoting Black Flourishing Fund.


Indigenous Engagement Lunch & Learn in solidarity with BHM

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Theory and Practice with Dr. Warren Clarke

Feb. 28, 11 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.

307 Tier, 173 Dafoe Road

See more about this event in the UM Event calendar.

All welcome! In solidarity with Black History Month events happening on campus, Indigenous Engagement and Communications invites you to a lunch and learn with Dr. Warren Clarke. Join for a presentation as Dr. Clarke provides foundational terminology and knowledge that will aid in educating participants on an active anti-oppression and anti-racism (AOAR) framework, which will be useful for the UM community. Participants will engage in a safe and productive conversation, encouraging critical thinking and challenging their unconscious biases, thinking through how to establish and maintain solidarity. The broad goals of the session are to empower and educate the cultural agents on the principles and practices of Broad Cultural Competency, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through an active Anti-Oppressive, Anti-Racist (AOAR) approach.


Equity transformation and anti-racism at UM

UM reaffirms our ideals in the fight against racism and hatred in all forms, including antisemitism, ableism, anti-2SLGBTQIA+ hate, anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and other forms of racism.

Organized around the guiding principles of equity, anti-oppression, diversity and inclusion and transformation, the Office of Equity Transformation provides leadership and coordination at UM to dismantle all forms of oppression, reduce barriers to meaningful participation and narrow inequities to build an institution and community rooted in equity and and commitment to accessibility, diversity and inclusion.

Join the EDI Community of Practice.

Explore learning opportunities for equity, anti-oppression and advancing EDIA on the Office of Equity Transformation’s website

External resources for Black History Month

Canadian Black history (BHMWinnipeg)
Black history and human rights (Canadian Human Rights Museum)
Being Black on the Prairies (CBC Interactives / Omayra Issa and Ify Chiwetelu)
Being Black in Canada (CBC)
Black History Month (Government of Canada)

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