“The history of Black people has been incredibly difficult,” shared historian and lecturer Amadou Ba. “Today, minorities are living the consequences of slavery, colonisation, and discrimination.” Dr. Ba is a sessional professor at Laurentian University. He believes that in order to create a more inclusive, prosperous, and safe society, Black history needs to become common knowledge. “Then we wouldn’t have to celebrate Black History Month!”
Dr. Ba first became interested in Black history during his doctorate studies, where he researched West African soldiers in French colonial armies. He was curious to see if the British colonial empire had a similar history, thus he began his research into the rich African Canadian history. He found that much of the economic, cultural and social contributions were a “forgotten” history in Canada.
Determined to shed light on African Canadian contributions to the development of Canada, Dr. Ba published, in French, Forgotten History of the Contribution of Black Slaves and Soldiers to the Building of Canada (1604-1945) in 2018. The English version just came out in time to commemorate this year's edition of Black History Month.
His determination hasn’t ended there. Dr. Ba hopes to publish children's books to make African Canadian history common knowledge. In a recent interview, he highlighted a few historical figures he would like to write about: John Ware, Marie-Joseph Angélique, and William Hall just to name a few. “It’s easier to change [children's] mindsets than it is for older generations,” Dr. Ba states. “These children will be adults in the coming years; they are the future of our society.”