Black History Month: ‘It’s time’ to reimagine The Dream

Martin Luther King (centre) and Malcolm X in 1964. (Photo by Marion S. Trikosko)

Martin Luther King (centre) and Malcolm X in 1964. (Photo by Marion S. Trikosko)

With the theme “It’s time,” the 22nd edition of Black History Month in Montreal also marks the 50th anniversary of the game-changing I Have a Dream speech of the great civil-rights leader Martin Luther King.

In an exclusive exhibition presented at Place des Arts from February 5 to 18, six artists will use their own experiences to revisit and reinterpret King’s powerful words. Through sculpture, photography, painting and multidisciplinary techniques, the artists will explore the significance of King’s message today. On February 12, the public will hear Steve Smith, journalist, human-rights advocate and civil-rights expert, speak on King’s use of the media during those critical years, 1967-68. During the last months of King’s life, he sought to mobilize as many people as possible against the Vietnam War and poverty.

A series of photographs will shed light on the historical context of the movement in the United States, featuring archival photos by Max Sheller from the Library of Congress.

There will be an interactive dimension to the exhibit at, wherein visitors can share their thoughts through their social networks.

The month-long celebration of the talents and contributions of Montreal’s black communities includes shows, exhibitions, conferences and film screenings. Among them will be a concert by Lorraine Klaasen on February 16 at Cabaret du Mile and a screening of Bill Duke’s documentary Dark Girls, a film about concepts of beauty, self-worth and skin colour at Concordia, on February 25.

Professor and civil-rights activist Angela Davis will speak on being black in the U.S. today, at l’Astral on February 18.

To view a complete list of activities during Black History Month, visit


The Black Theatre Workshop unofficially launched Black History Month with its 27th Vision Celebration Gala, where it conferred the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award on well-known performer Gregory Charles.

Two young artists also received recognition and encouragement.

Actress and singer Sarah-Ellise Hicks, 21, received the Gloria Mitchell Aleong Award, presented to emerging artists between 20 and 35. The Victor Phillips Award, based on artistic promise as well as academic achievement, went to 17-year-old Roxanne Garnes, a Dawson Arts and Culture student.

BTW will present a public performance of When Elephant Was King on February 24 at 1pm and 3pm at the Black Community Resource Centre, 6767 Côte des Neiges.

The play, written by Montreal playwright Chimwemwe Miller and directed by Tamara Brown, was commissioned for BTW. For over 20 years BTW has made powerful theatre experiences accessible to young audiences.

Box Office: 514-932-1104.

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