Emancipation History

1. More than 6,000 years ago

Nomads from East Africa settle the Nile River Valley. Their descendants create Egyptian dynasties, build pyramids and rule the Nile empires. 

2. 900-1100

The West African Ashanti (Asante) kingdom in Ghana, trades gold. The Akua' ba sculpture is worn to insure fertility and the health and beauty of children

3. 1444-1865

12-15 million Africans are forcibly brought to the Americas. Slave trading centres like Gore, St. Louis and Arguin process millions of people.

4. 1604-1606

Blacks come to British North America along with European explorers. Matthieu da Costa is an interpreter who assists Samuel de Champlain in Nova Scotia.

5. 1632

The English explorer, Kirke, sold Olivier Le Jeune, Canada's first African slave, to Le Baillif, French clerk, who gives Olivier to Guillaume Couillard of Quebec. Thereafter Amerindians and Blacks are slaves.

6. 1734

Slave Marie-Joseph-Angelique is accused of arson in Montreal. She is tried, tortured and then hung. Her body is burned and her ashes are blown in the wind.

7. 1783-1784

Free Black loyalists settle in Nova Scotia, and Quebec. Other American Loyalists bring Black slaves with them as they settle British North America.

8. 1796-1801

The British deport the Jamaican Maroons to Nova Scotia, where they build one tower of the Halifax Citadel. Dissatisfied, hundreds repatriate to Sierra Leone.

9. 1807-1834

British ban their ships from carrying African slaves. In 1833, Britain passes the Emancipation Act and on August 1, 1834 all British slaves are liberated.

10. 1820s to 1860s

The underground railroad was manned by those willing to assist runaway Blacks. Harriet Tubman made 19 trips into America to bring Blacks into Canada.

11. 1914-1917

Despite lobbying, Blacks in Canada are not permitted to enlist with the regular forces. Blacks build bridges, roads, and latrines in the No. 2 Construction Battalion.

12. 1919

The Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) opens in Montreal. The UNIA is very Afro-centric and Black Montrealers, like the late Mr.Henry J. Langdon was active in it.

13. 1920s to 1950s

Montreal's jazz develops in Little Burgundy. Musicians from Africa, the Caribbean, and South America bring the world's sounds to Montreal.

14. 1940s

The Second World War forces the racial integration of factories and the military in Canada. For the first time Blacks are allowed to work in the industrial sector.

15. 1963-1968

Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech to 250,000 in Washington, D.C. He won the Nobel Peace Prize. Though murdered his dream lives on.


Written by Dorothy W. Williams