July 29, 2022
Canada recognizes Emancipation Day which marks the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.
Canadians are invited to reflect on why the shadow of slavery still haunts us. Although emancipation would suggest a new age of human rights and universal freedom, there are lasting impacts on formerly enslaved groups in Canada.
The following books by and about Black Canadians across adult, youth and junior fiction and non-fiction titles offer many pieces of Black history that have not been taught or shared and challenge us to consider how to make meaningful change. May this knowledge inspire us to move from dialogue to deep action.
Our collection has many good reads across adult, youth and junior fiction and non-fiction titles that offer insight into this topic.
L&A Libraries suggests the following as excellent adult fiction titles:
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisis Coates
This literary debut blends the supernatural and the serious to explore ancestral visions which have the power to liberate those held in bondage. It offers an astute racial analysis.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
This Pulitzer Prize winner interweaves speculative fiction and history in its account of African Americans held in bondage, bringing the metaphor of The Underground Railroad to life.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
This coming-of-age story offers brilliant characterization of two men escaping bondage. Their personal journeys underscore the challenge of self discovery in a world that denies their humanity.
Emancipation Day by Wayne Grady
This award winning Canadian novel traces a thought-provoking story about how a man’s secrets impact an interracial marriage in 1940s Newfoundland.
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
This compelling fictional narrative of abduction, transport, bondage and liberation tells a readable history of the conditions and economic levers driving slavery across continents.
See the complete list of suggestions here.
Jennifer is a Librarian at the Amherstview Branch of the L&A Libraries. She regularly writes awareness pieces that offer book suggestions relating to important and commemorative days in Canada.