Black History Month at McGill Library

2023 marks the 7th annual celebration of Black History Month at McGill. Led by McGill’s Equity Office, “Black History Month at McGill brings together students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members through events held both in person and online. These events present an opportunity to learn, reconnect, and celebrate Black communities’ contributions to education and research. We are proud of the continued recognition of Black History Month here at McGill and beyond and look forward to honouring and celebrating Black history together.”

In support of Black History Month at McGill, the Library has brought together some resources to help you commemorate. We invite you to explore and learn more about Black histories, stories and experiences.

Do you have favourite resources that are not listed below? Please let us know!

Questions? Ask us!

Please note that access to some items may be restricted to McGill users and the VPN may be required for off-campus access.


Books cover: Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Book displays

The Humanities and Social Studies Library (HSSL) has curated a virtual display, bringing from deep within our collections, titles both old and new, literary masterpieces, and contemporary podcasts. Read the blog post for a sneak peek of some of the titles on display or click the link below for the full listing.

Courtesy: WikiMedia Commons. Source: Lëa-Kim Châteauneuf


Still from Madeline Anderson’s Integration Report 1 (1960) on Docuseek

Video Streaming Services

Primary Source Collections

Brochure for Black Thought & Culture

Cross-unit collaborations

Master of Information Studies Fellowship for Black Students

The McGill Library and the McGill School of Information Studies (SIS) are teaming up to provide a fellowship program for Black students to complete the two-year Master of Information Studies (MISt) at McGill. The MISt is the advanced degree required for most professional librarian positions. Two fellowship positions are available.

Fellows will receive a tuition award for two years (4 semesters, not including fees) for the MISt program in SIS beginning Fall 2023. They will also receive a 15 hour per week paid position in the McGill Library during each academic term in an area of professional interest to the Fellow and addressing a need in the McGill Library. Application deadline for the fellowship program is 5:00 PM (EST) March 31, 2023. Visit the fellowship webpage for more information or to apply.

Program to Support Graduate Conducting Students in the Study and Performance of Music by Composers from Underrepresented Groups

This 3-year pilot initiative is a collaboration between the Schulich School of Music, the Marvin Duchow Music Library, and its Gertrude Whitley Performance Library. The Program seeks to highlight the study of works by composers from underrepresented groups, in alignment with the University’s EDI Strategic Plan and Anti-Black Racism Action Plan. It aims to enrich the educational experience of conducting students and acknowledge their potential to bring positive influence and change to musical performance at McGill and beyond. The successful candidates of the first round will perform works by underrepresented composers including William Grant Still, William L. Dawson, and Ulysses Kay.

Exploring stories in the archives & web archiving


In Voices from the Footnotes Podcast the folks at ROAAr (Rare & Special Collections, Osler, Arts, Archives) explore some of the hidden histories at the McGill University Library and Archives, looking at places, people, and artifacts. The library and archival collections are rich and fascinating, but this series flows from the silences and absences that are also present.

Episode 11 – Generations Part 1: What has changed since the 1940s for Black students and staff at McGill? In this episode, we talk with Beryl Dickinson-Dash (now Rapier) and two pairs of fathers and daughters who were students, faculty, or staff – or all of the above – at McGill. Hear about a lot of firsts and the unique challenges faced by Black students and staff in the first half of this two-part episode.

Episode 14 – Generations Part 2: What has changed since the 1940s for Black students and staff at McGill? In part 2 of the Generations episode, we shift to more contemporary perspectives. We hear mostly from the daughters and learn about their experiences as former students and current staff at McGill. They discuss community, belonging, and safe spaces on campus. The episode also focuses on the fight for equity, and the institutional challenges/obstacles that come with it.

This episode we speak with royalty, McGill royalty to be precise. Step back in time to 1949, 1951 and 1958, as Beryl Rapier, Dorothy Baxter and Rae Tucker Rambally bring us back to mid-century McGill Winter Carnival days. Relive their days as campus royalty.

So what happened after the fun and festivities of McGill’s Winter Carnival were over? We hear from Beryl Rapier, Carnival Queen in 1949, about her experiences after the pageant and her time at McGill.

So what happened after the fun and festivities of McGill’s winter carnival were over? We hear from Rae Rambally, Carnival queen in 1958, about her experiences both before and after her time at McGill.

Web archiving McGill’s response to Anti-Black Racism

Staff members from McGill University Archives and Digital Initiatives units have created an archive of web content that documents McGill University’s response to Anti-Black Racism, specifically within the context of the 2020 conversations around Black Lives Matter and calls to address Anti-Black Racism and systemic racism. Access the collection directly through Archive-It or through McGill Library’s catalogue.

Quiz that So?! Trivia Game

How well do you know McGill history? With the university’s bicentennial underway, the McGill Library has a trivia game to explore some of the lesser-known stories in the McGill archives. Play Quiz that So?! and see McGill through a different lens as you discover the stories of some extraordinary McGillians like activist and politician Rosemary Brown.

Looking for additional resources? Learn more about EDI work happening at the Library.

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