This Week In History: RBCM’s newest exhibit highlights Black people’s contributions to building B.C.


February is Black History Month, but B.C.’s rich Black history isn’t widely known.

A free exhibit — called ‘Hope Meets Action: Echoes Through the Black Continuum’ — at the Royal BC Museum aims to change that.

Hope Meets Action: Echoes Through the Black Continuum‘ documents the many pivotal Black figures who’ve contributed to building modern B.C.  The series of colourful panels fill Clifford Carl Hall at the museum’s entrance.

The exhibition is written and curated by Joshua Robertson and is a collaboration with the BC Black History Awareness Society.

Fran Morrison with the BCBHAS says many people don’t realize just how long Black people have been in Canada.

“Black people have been [in Canada] since the 1600s and there are many people that don’t recognize that.”

Morrison says the exhibit was the result of multiple focus groups with members of the Black community.

“They told us they wanted it to be about community, about Black belonging in B.C.  They wanted to know about the history, but also how it connects to the present-day situation that we find ourselves in” she says.

Chris O’Connor is the Learning Program Developer with the Royal BC Museum,

“A really important shift in museums in general, but our museum, in particular, is really to have communities at the center of our practice.”

A photo of Fran Morrison’s family is included in the exhibit.

“We came because we had been loyal to the British in their fight in America, and we were given safe passage here. Then we had the Underground Railroad and the anti-slavery movements in Canada and the United States that brought another group of people here,” explains Morrison, adding that the photo of her big family shows how the threads of Black history run deep in Canada.

Morrison says she is proud of the reaction to ‘Hope Meets Action’, especially one comment about it.

“It said ‘seeing this exhibit and being here makes me so proud to be Black.'”

Hope Meets Action: Echoes Through the Black Continuum runs until Mar. 31, 2022.

READ MORE: This Week In History: Why it’s important museums constantly de-clutter collections

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Brad MacLeodBrad MacLeod

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