Despite the increasing scope and authority of women's studies, the role of Black women in Canada's history has remained largely unwritten and unacknowledged. This silence supports the common belief that Black people have only recently arrived in Canada and that racism is also a fairly recent development. This book sets the record straight.
The six essays collected here explore three hundred years of Black women in Canada, from the seventeenth century to the immediate post-Second World War period. Sylvia Hamilton documents the experiences of Black women in Nova Scotia, from early slaves and Loyalists to modern immigrants. Adrienne Shadd looks at the gripping realities of the Underground Railroad, focusing on activities on this side of the border. Peggy Bristow examines the lives of Black women in Buxton and Chatham, Ontario, between 1850 and 1865. Afua Cooper describes the career of Mary Bibb, a nineteenth-century Black teacher in Ontario. Dionne Brand, through oral accounts, examines labourers between the wars and their recruitment as factory workers during the Second World War. And, finally, Linda Carty explores relations between Black women and the Canadian state.
This long overdue history will prove welcome reading for anyone interested in Black history and race relations. It provides a much-needed text for senior high school and university courses in Canadian history, women's history, and women's studies.
Winner of the Ontario Historical Society's 1996 Joesph Brant award.