Aug 01, 2023
On August 1st, 1834, the British Empire abolished slavery in Canada, but only certain freedoms were granted at this time, notably to young children. However, the act committed Canada as a free space for African Americans which resulted in thousands of African Americans arriving on Canadian soil between 1834 and 1860, providing invaluable contribution to the heritage and diversity of our country. On March 24th, 2021, the date was officially designated as Emancipation Day in Canada by the House of Commons. It is now a date for all Canadians to reflect on the importance of Black and Indigenous experience, the significance of past harms from slavery and their continued effect on the descendants of African heritage. It is a time to recognize Black and Indigenous contributions to our communities, history, science, medicine, education, art, literature and more – and to truly take the time to understand and recognize the stories from the point of view of lived experience. Education and engagement will allow us to reflect on strengthening our on-going fight against racism, discrimination and anti-Black experience.
OPL celebrates the Black community and recognizes Black Voices through a diverse range of material available on-loan and on-line. Check out our recommended reading list to learn more about the lives of Black Canadians. On August 1st, please pause to reflect on the significance of Emancipation Day.