August 1 is now recognized across Canada as Emancipation Day, which was the end of slavery in the British Empire in 1834.
After years of campaigning by black lawmakers and community advocates, Canada Sunday officially marks the abolition of slavery nearly 200 years ago during its first nationwide emancipation day.
Canadian parliamentarians unanimously voted in March to recognize the Emancipation Day across the country on August 1, the same date in 1834 when an act came into force banning slavery in former British colonies, including Canada.
Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard, a leading figure in the years-long quest for federal recognition of Emancipation Day, said the day was “not a celebration” but rather “a time of reflection, a time to commemorate our ancestors” remember and a time to honor our ancestors ”.
“The national recognition of Emancipation Day marks the beginning of what we are going to do next,” said Thomas Bernard. an online event before Sunday, explaining that black history should be taught throughout Canada throughout the year, and that an apology and compensation should be discussed.
“If we use our collective power, Emancipation Day and the recognition of Emancipation Day should move us in many positive ways,” she said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement on Sunday that “Emancipation Day is a representation of social activism, justice and our commitment to a fair future”.
“Today we re-commit to combating anti-black racism, xenophobia, racial discrimination and related intolerance of people of African descent in Canada,” he said.
But the history of slavery in Canada remains largely unknown, with much more attention paid to – and more education available about – slavery in the United States, which made in June June tenth a national holiday to commemorate the end of the exercise.
In Canada, slavery took place over a period of 200 years before the signing of the Slavery Abolition Act in the United Kingdom in 1833. The law came into force on August 1, 1834.
Slavery was practiced in the early colonies of what later became Canada, with one historian assessment that 4,200 people enslaved between 1671 and 1831 in New France (the present-day province of Quebec) and thereafter in Upper and Lower Canada (Quebec and neighboring Ontario).
Both black and indigenous people were slaves in the early colonies of present-day Canada.
– Wanda Thomas Bernard (@SenatorWanda) 1 August 2021
‘After British colonial settlers established Upper Canada, the number of slave Africans and their descendants increased significantly. It is estimated that 3,000 slaves of men, women and children of African descent were brought to British-North America and eventually into the number of slaves of indigenous peoples, ‘the Canadian government said on its website.
Many addicted black people resisted slavery by fleeing Upper Canada to an area known as the Northwest Territories, which includes Michigan and Ohio, as well as Vermont and New York, which were enslaved at the end of the 18th century. “
Several events are planned across the country on Sunday.
Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.
“Emancipation Day and the establishment of other federal holidays recognizing black suffering is an important step towards equality – but only if it is accompanied by a sincere desire to combine recognition with action and justice,” said Sarah Raughley, an academic, public writer and novelist, written in a July 31 column for CBC News.
“For the real progress to continue, we need more than just a tacit recognition of the Canadian and our government,” the Canadian Commission for UNESCO also wrote. a blog post this week.
‘Observing a disgraceful historical moment in our history is one thing. Doing something proactive to address his legacy is something else. ”