How Much Do You Know about Black History in Canada?

How much do we know about black history in Canada? Who were the key figures? What do we lose when we don’t include black stories in our history? Moderated by Amanda Parris, host of Exhibitionists on CBC Arts, the panel includes: Nikki Clarke, Ontario Black History Society; Afua Cooper, Dalhousie University; Andrea Davis, York University; and Karen Flynn, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. 

CBC Short Doc Freedom Summer

Moon is a 13 year-old discovering what it means to take responsibility as a leader. Rihanna is a 7 year-old learning to love the skin she’s in. Freedom Summer follows them as they learn about themselves and others at Black Lives Matter Toronto’s Freedom School — a summer camp where Black kids learn that Black is beautiful

CBC Short Doc Deeply Rooted

Filmmaker Cazhhmere is a 7th-generation black Canadian. Despite this deep history, she’s constantly asked to explain where she’s from—even though the answer is always “Canada.” Cazhhmere is a proud Canadian. Her ancestors were among the first black settlers to come to Canada — her family has spent hundreds of years weaving itself into the fabric of our nation. Despite this deep history, Cazhhmere is constantly questioned about where she is originally from.

The Story of Viola Desmond from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

CBC Ideas Radio show “Canada’s Slavery Secret”

Canada has burnished its reputation as the terminal station of the Underground Railroad, a safe haven for runaway slaves. Generations of Canadians have grown up with the idea that slavery somehow stopped at the American border. And that notion is still operative, as captured by this documentary in a surprising moment when Prime Minister Paul Martin admits he never knew the extent of of institutional slavery in colonial Canada. Another former PM, Stephen Harper, has also said famously — or infamously — that Canada has “no history of colonialism.” As Afua Cooper says, slavery is Canada’s best-kept secret.

Listen to "Canada's Slave Secret"

Film Collection

NFB Collection of films about Black Canadian Communities – in French

A Reading List from the series

  • The Black Loyalists: The search for the Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, 1783-1870, James Walker, University of Toronto Press, republished in 2017.
  • North to Bondage: Loyalist Slavery in the Maritimes, Harvey Amani Whitfield, UBC Press, 2016.
  • Canada’s Forgotten Slaves: Two Hundred Years of Bondage, Marcel Trudel, translated by George Tombs, Véhicule Press, 2013.
  • Directions Home: Approaches to African-Canadian Literature, George Elliott Clarke, University of Toronto Press, 2012.
  • Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France, Brett Rushforth, University of North Carolina Press, 2012.
  • Ebony Roots, Northern Soil: Perspectives on Blackness in Canada, Ed. Charmaine Nelson, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010.
  • The Hanging of Angélique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal, HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.