Black Lives Matter Fredericton launches Black history database

·2 min read

Black Lives Matter Fredericton, the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University are launching a new resource for educators in the province to better teach Black history in New Brunswick classrooms.

The "Black Lives Matter in New Brunswick Education Project" is a database of curricula, lesson plans and resources that teachers can incorporate into the province's social studies curriculum.

The group said there is limited Black history content in the province's schools.

"I was even surprised that we had so much trouble even finding that information online and stuff, because a lot of New Brunswick Black histories are so hidden," said Alicia Noreiga-Mundaroy, project lead for the group.

Husoni Raymond, an organizer with BLMF, said a lack of Black history knowledge can lead to a warped view of the province's history

"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 Raymond, in a media 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 online database breaks down the curriculum and lesson plans by grade and formats it in much the same way the current social studies curriculum is formatted.

The subjects range from lessons about famous Black New Brunswickers, like a Grade 2 section about Willie O'Ree, to cultural events, like Kwanza in Grade 3, to social issues, like a lesson called "Policing Black Lives" in Grade 12.

Ed Hunter/CBC
Ed Hunter/CBC

"We are hoping that this website will be able to empower teachers so that they could take that initiative," said Noreiga-Mundaroy.

Noreiga-Mundaroy said the group is in continuing talks with the Education Department about incorporating more Black history into the official curriculum.

"It takes years sometimes for curriculum review and modification to take place … this is something in the interim that teachers could access quickly," said Noreiga-Mundaroy.

Noreiga-Mundaroy said she hopes the website will be translated into French in the coming months.