Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement in recognition of Black History Month:
"Every February, Canadians celebrate Black History Month by learning about and reflecting upon the legacy and accomplishments of black Canadians.
“In conjunction with the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, we are taking a special look this year at the important contributions made by black soldiers to the historic battles that helped define the country that Canada would ultimately become.
"One of the heroes of the fight for Canada was a freed slave named Richard Pierpoint, who, in his late 60s, volunteered and served with distinction in a number of battles in the Niagara Peninsula.
“Many of the former slaves and black Loyalists who fought on the Canadian side during the War of 1812 settled in places such as Nova Scotia and south-western Ontario, where they and their descendants formed communities that continue to enrich Canada to this day.
“Black History month will begin with an important tribute. Canada Post is issuing a new stamp today honouring two great black Canadians: Viola Desmond, a renowned figure in the fight for civil rights in Nova Scotia; and John Ware, a former slave from the American south who became a pioneer of the ranching industry in Alberta.
"This February, I encourage all Canadians to learn more about how black history has helped contribute to and shape our great country, and to participate in the activities available in their communities that celebrate this important part of our heritage.”