To mark the first day of Black History Month, a Fredericton group has launched a resource website for teachers to incorporate Black history into classrooms.
In collaboration with two universities, Black Lives Matter Fredericton launched the education project on Monday morning. The site contains lesson plans, presentations, films, readings and videos — all in one accessible place.
The group says this project will diversify the curriculum “to include Black voices and experiences.”
Alicia Noreiga-Mundaroy, project lead at BLMF, says in the release that the group hopes teachers find the project useful, “as a first step to ensuring the education provided to students in New Brunswick is more representative of the population.”
BMLF says Black history content in N.B. schools is currently limited, and that lack of education contributes to the marginalization of Black folks in the province.
Fittingly, this year’s Black History Month theme is Black History Matters.
“We need to teach the real history of New Brunswick, including the fact that slavery and segregation were alive here for centuries and the resistance and grit of the Black population,” said BLMF’s Husoni Raymond, in the release.
“New Brunswick is seen as a white space; the contributions of Black New Brunswickers are rarely mentioned and often erased; we can, and need to do better.”
The project was made in collaboration with the University of New Brunswick’s faculty of education and St. Thomas University, in dedication to a local educator, Mary Louise McCarthy-Brandt.
Last month, BLMF dedicated a bursary for Black students to her as well. Then, Raymond described her as an advocate and a mentor.
“(McCarthy-Brandt) has been a pillar support for Black Lives Matter Fredericton and the Black community here,” he said.
“She’s an elder that is always available to chat and to provide guidance and support and she’s someone that’s been talking about racism in New Brunswick for decades.”
In 2015, McCarthy won a racial profiling case against Shopper’s Drug Mart in Toronto, after a store employee accused her of stealing and proceeded to search McCarthy-Brandt’s bag without her consent.
The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled that she was accused because she was Black, and the company was ordered to pay McCarthy-Brandt $8,000.
Now, McCarthy-Brandt is a board member of New Brunswick Black History Society, and continues to work with and for Black New Brunswickers.
BLMF says while the website launched just in time for February, it’s been launched with a long-term goal to have N.B. Black history permanently — and meaningfully — incorporated into the curriculum.
“In the coming months, we seek to work with Black community members and teachers to create more resources so that we might continue to build the website,” the group says.
Working with provincial education officials, the group hopes to see permanent curriculum changes in some areas by the start of the 2021-22 school year.