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Explore Black History Month With Maps

Black History Month is celebrated annually in North America in February. It’s a great opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of Black Canadians, but also to learn about the challenges Black people have had to overcome throughout history. Find out how you can integrate maps into your teaching of black history and explore the free resources that are available to you.

In honour of Black History Month, the Education and Research group has created a story map and a Web application (app) to highlight the important contributions of black Canadians. The story map focuses on a CBC feature called “23 historical black Canadians you should know.” The editable Web app allows students to add information about Black History heritage plaques found in their communities to the map.

Black History Canada - Map Journal, highlighting the contributions of black Canadians.

History can cover a multitude of topics and maps can illustrate many different stories. We’ve created two different types of maps to show what is possible using ArcGIS Online. Looking for an idea to jump start your own Black History Month celebration? Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a Web map displaying the places where African American slaves settled after arriving in Canada via the Underground Railroad.
  • Create a story map of the Black Loyalists who arrived in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick after securing their freedom fighting alongside the British Crown. Document their struggle using images and maps.
  • Create a timeline of Black Canadian History in the form of a story map.

The Black History Heritage Plaques in Canada Web app, allows students to display locations of where Black History heritage plaques are found in their communities.

What are you doing with your students for Black History Month? We want to hear from you. Contact us at

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

Profile Photo of Angela Alexander