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Black History Collections in Other Departments

Other Black History collections can be found at Concordia University. The Concordia Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS) and the Visual Collection Repository (VCR) are two units that house archival materials - including but not limited to oral history interviews and photographic materials - that help support research into Black Histories in Canada and beyond.

Concordia Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS)

Lisa Ndejuru and Didacienne Nibagwire – Kigali-based actor and 1994 genocide survivor – perform at their main stage event at the 2019 Ubumuntu Arts Festival at the amphitheatre on the grounds of Rwanda’s Gisozi National Genocide Memorial. Their multilingual spoken word piece, created collaboratively at the festival, weaves together an ancient origin story from Rwandan oral tradition and their own life stories of trauma and resilience. Screened at the launch of the PAGE Rwanda/COHDS Living Archives project. Speaking at the podium is Jean-Paul Nyilinkwaya, President of PAGE Rwanda. December 2019, photographed by David Ward. Used with permission.

The COHDS archive contains numerous fonds and collections documenting the histories of Canada’s Black communities. 

Viewing material

Contact COHDS to make an appointment to listen to the interviews or view the collection material described on this page.


The Voices of Little Burgundy collection contains 13 interviews documenting the stories of present and former residents of Little Burgundy. The interviews discuss race, class, and discrimination. Some of the interviews in this collection can be accessed online following contact with the COHDS archivist. Others must be consulted on site. This fonds also contains textual records and graphic materials.


The Alfie Roberts Institute fonds contains materials related to the Alfie Roberts Institute and is primarily composed of interviews with members of Afro and Caribbean diaspora. It also contains documents related to the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), the African Communities League, and the Congress of Black Writers.The interviews are available for listening.


This Living Archives project serves to document the life stories of more than 80 individuals. The digital repository of life stories of 30 Rwandan genocide survivors can be listened to online. The interviews that form part of the Living Archives of Rwandan Exiles and Survivors in Canada project can be found in the Montreal Life Stories collection, specifically the materials found in the Rwanda Working Group series (2014-01-06).


The Montreal Life Stories collection is consists of 8 series documenting the oral history project Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide, and Other Human Rights Violations that explored the experiences and memories of Montrealers’. Several series contain documentation related to Black Histories, including but not limited to the following:

  • Haiti Working Group series (2014-01-04): 19 interviews documenting “the relationship between state violence experienced during the Duvalier régime and the displacement of Haitian refugees to Montreal.” 

  • Rwanda Working Group series (2014-01-06): 87 interviews documenting “the life stories of Rwandan survivors living in Montreal were recorded through interviews with people from different age groups.” Material related to this series can be accessed via the Living Archives of Rwandan Exiles and Survivors in Canada project website.


The Urban Changes in Little Burgundy collection documents two projects relating to Little Burgundy discussing changes in the area that occurred in the 1960s through the 1970s. This collection contains 3 interviews, reports, promotional material, reflections on the interviews and a photograph. The interviews are available for listening


The Urban History Laboratory – Union United collection contains interviews with 10 members of Union United Church, a historically Black church in Little Burgundy. The interviews are available for listening, with some restrictions.

Visual Collection Repository (VCR)

Still from "Black Girl/La Noire de…," a film by Ousmane Sembene (1966).

The Visual Collection Repository (VCR) supports research and pedagogy by providing primary visual documents to Concordia Faculty of Fine Arts professors, instructors, students and accredited outside researchers. The VCR’s holdings include extensive slide and film collections, some of which support teaching and research in Black Studies.

Viewing material

Contact VCR to make an appointment to view the collection material described on this page. Some of the films might be available for streaming in Sofia. To view material in the slide collection, contact Pamela Caussy, Supervisor, VCR.

Film and video

Still from "Black Girl/La Noire de…," a film by Ousmane Sembene (1966).

The VCR preserves and provides access to a diverse collection of moving images, including both analog and digital films and videos. The moving images in their collection are catalogued in Sofia. Physical copies of analog materials are available on site at the VCR. Others might be available through the streaming services subscribed to by the Library.

The following lists of films were curated by Dr. Desirée de Jesús, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at York University and former curator at Concordia University’s VCR. Dr. de Jesús holds a PhD from Concordia University and an MA (with Distinction) from Kings College London. She is also a video essayist and moving images curator. Her videographic work analyzes films centering girls, women, and folks of color. Her previous curatorial work supported the Visual Collections Repository (Concordia University) and the Toronto International Film Festival. Dr. de Jesús’s research and teaching explore the intersections of race, gender, aesthetics, and technology in narrative film and media through traditional, creative, and curatorial methodologies.

The following films reflect a range of Black experiences of girlhood.

The following films concern Black women’s activism and community presence.

The following films features a range of films whose formal qualities convey the experience of Black Time: an understanding of oneself as being situated within a confluence of temporalities that are historical (ancestors/futures), communal (Black Diasporic), and chronological (the linear passage of time).

The following films highlight work about Black Queer lives and futures.

  • Tongues Untied (Marlon Riggs, 1989)
    Documentary, 55 minutes | English | DVD
  • Anthem (Marlon Riggs, 1991)
    Drama, 9 minutes | English | DVD
  • Rude (Clement Virgo, 1995)
    Drama, 90 minutes | English | DVD
  • The Watermelon Woman (Cheryl Dunye, 1996)
    Drama, 90 minutes | English | DVD
  • The Early Works of Cheryl Dunye (Cheryl Dunye, 2008)
    72 minutes | English | DVD
  • Pariah (Dee Rees, 2017)
    Drama, 87 minutes | English | DVD
  • Rafiki (Wanuri Kahiu, 2018)
    Drama, 82 minutes | English, Swahili | DVD

Visual images

The VCR houses a collection of over 350,000 catalogued 35mm slides highlighting artifacts, paintings, photographs, ceramics, fibre works, drawing, sculpture, architecture, performance and contemporary art in a variety of subject areas. The VCR also maintains a database of over 30,000 high resolution digital images that can be downloaded and used for educational and research purposes.

More information about particular collection items to come.

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