Celebrating Progress: Emancipation and Our Path to the Future

Recent Discussions of Freedom and Ideas for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism Across the Diaspora


The Underground Railroad: Next Stop Toronto
By Adrienne Shadd, Afua Cooper, Karolyn Smardz Frost

Stories of the hopeful, brave people who fled slavery and made Toronto their home.
“An engaging and highly readable account of the lives of Black people in Toronto in the 1800s.” — Lawrence Hill, bestselling author of The Illegal


Talking About Freedom: Celebrating Emancipation Day in Canada
By Natasha L. Henry

On August 1, 1834, 800,000 enslaved Africans in the British colonies, including Canada, were declared free. The story of Emancipation Day, a little-known part of Canadian history, has never been accessible to the teen reader through either the school curriculum or classroom resources, despite its significance in the story of Canada. What is the connection between the Caribana festivities in Toronto and emancipation? Why are some communities restoring Emancipation Day to their roster of annual events?


It Was Dark There All the Time: Sophia Burthen and the Legacy of Slavery in Canada
By Andrew Hunter

Sophia Burthen’s account of her arrival as an enslaved person into what is now Canada sometime in the late 18th century, was recorded by Benjamin Drew in 1855.


African Canadian Leadership: Continuity, Transition and Transformation
By Tamari Kitosa, Erica S. Lawson, Phillip S.S. Howard
This book opens a broad vista of inquiry into the many and dynamic ways leadership practices occur in Black Canadian communities.


By Shauntay Grant (Finalist for a Governor General’s Literary Award)

When a young girl visits the site of Africville, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the stories she’s heard from her family come to mind. Africville was a vibrant Black community for more than 150 years. But even though its residents paid municipal taxes, they lived without running water, sewers, paved roads and police, fire-truck and ambulance services. Today, Africville has been replaced by a park, where former residents and their families gather each summer to remember their community.


The Long Emancipation: Moving Toward Black Freedom
By Rinaldo Walcott

In The Long Emancipation Rinaldo Walcott argues that Black people globally live in the time of emancipation and that emancipation is definitely not freedom:  Black people must constantly fashion alternate conceptions of freedom and reality through expressive culture. The attainment of freedom for Black people will transform the human experience worldwide.


Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa
Edited by John Henrik Clarke

Among Black leaders, Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) was unique. His popularity was universal, his program for the return of African people to their motherland shook the foundations of three empires. His prophecy has been fulfilled in the independence that brought into being more than thirty African nations. This illuminating reader shows Garvey in all his dimensions. Among the many contributors are, in addition to Garvey himself, W. E. B. Du Bois, E. Franklin Frazier, William Z. Foster, Amy Jacques Garvey, and the editor, John Henrik Clarke.

Capitalism and Slavery

Capitalism and Slavery
by Eric Williams

Slavery helped finance the Industrial Revolution in England. Industries related to
slavery–plantation owners, shipbuilders, and merchants—amassed great fortunes
that established capitalism, banks and heavy industry in Europe and capitalism
worldwide. Eric Williams advanced these ideas in 1944 with the publication
of Capitalism and Slavery. His insightful critique energized many studies of
imperialism and economic development. Williams’ study of the role of slavery in
financing the Industrial Revolution refuted traditional ideas of economic and moral
progress and firmly established the African slave trade as a key driver of economic
development in Europe. He also showed how industrial capitalism helped destroy
slavery. He also made profound connections between commercial capitalism and
racial attitudes. Williams’ work continues to influence discourse on these topics,
even today.

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