Minister Kenney issues statement celebrating Black History Month

“As Black History Month begins, Canadians have a great opportunity to learn about the historical contributions of a community whose legacy stretches back to Canada’s earliest days.

“This year, the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 affords a chance to reflect on the key role that black soldiers played in the fight for Canada.

“Two centuries ago, Upper Canadian militia – fighting alongside the British – successfully repelled an American invasion force at Queenston Heights, Ontario, just outside of Niagara Falls. It was a major battle of the War of 1812, and a defining moment in Canada’s history.

“Among the militiamen defending Canadian soil was a 68-year-old former slave named Richard Pierpoint, serving with an all-black company of soldiers. Seized from Senegal and sold into slavery as a teenager, Pierpoint had won his freedom by serving with British forces during the American Revolutionary War. His company served with distinction at Queenston Heights and in other decisive battles of the War of 1812.

“The exceptional life story of this hero reminds us that black Canadians have made significant contributions to this country in so many different areas throughout our history. Canadians of Caribbean and African descent have done much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous nation we know today.

“As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I invite all Canadians to participate in activities taking place across the country in February to mark Black History Month, with a special focus this year on the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. I also encourage Canadians to visit our Black History Month website, which includes the Canadian Black History Virtual Museum:”

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