For the last few years in Canada Black History month has been on the books, it is not talked about much because the history of Africans in Canada is very different from the history South of the Border. Also slavery in Canada disappeared around 1820, even before that date a lot of Africans were freed and worked as domestics or in trade. That does not excuse the racism that existed and still exist in some people. This article is very interesting because when slavery is mentioned in Canada, one thinks of Afriqueville in Nova Scotia or the underground railroad. Though Africans worked in New France before 1763 and afterwards. Who knew about l’Ile Saint-Jean AKA Prince Edward Island and its small African population.
Last I wrote, I said that all material for the month of February would be given over to discussing the Island’s black heritage in honour of Black History Month. That plan hasn’t changed. For this week, I thought it best to kick things off with a general primer on the origins of Black (or African) Islanders, and the state of said heritage today, before diving into other matters in greater detail.
It often comes as a surprise to many, the fact that the Island has black heritage. I’ll admit that I myself really didn’t learn about it until I enrolled in an Island history class in high school. Despite the fact I was first exposed to Island history in Grade 6, in two of the textbooks long used in the education system here (at the lower levels), The Story of Prince Edward Island (1963) and Abegweit: Land of…
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