1 February 2011
Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement today in recognition of Black History Month:
"February is Black History Month and an opportunity to celebrate the values of perseverance and dignity that have defined the black community in Canada.
"This year, we celebrate four outstanding Canadian icons whose stories characterize the pride, strength and dignity that have driven black Canadians to realize their ambitions in different fields.
"John Ware, born into slavery in South Carolina, moved to Alberta where he achieved success and fame. As a pioneer of "steer wrestling," his legacy is enjoyed by more than a million people each year at the Calgary Stampede.
"At the turn of the 20th Century, Carrie Best broke down barriers and changed mindsets – thriving as a broadcaster, author, human rights activist and the founder of the first black-owned newspaper in Nova Scotia.
"Two of Canada’s greatest athletes also overcame obstacles and changed attitudes in professional sports. Ferguson Jenkins became the only Canadian player to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, while Jarome Iginla was the first black captain in the National Hockey League.
"During Black History Month, I encourage Canadians to learn more about the important contributions of black Canadians to our great nation and to participate in various events celebrating this part of our culture."