Black History in Canada

6 The period between 1780 and 1820 saw a large growth in Eastern Canada’s Black population. This period included many notable events and people that left lasting influences on Canada’s story. 1. Select an individual or event from 1780 to 1820 to focus on. Research your chosen topic and create a poster presenting relevant key dates, facts, important moments, and impact. 2. Assemble the class’s posters in chronological order around your classroom or in a hallway. For individuals, place them according to when you think the most historically significant part of their life occurred. 3. Take some time as a class to read through the posters. Discuss what trends you see in the timeline. What information can you take away about Black Canadian life during this period? ACTIVITY 2.1 A GROWING POPULATION SECTION 3: Abolition Movements and the Underground Railroad In July 1793, the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada passed in the House of Assembly. Crucially, the Act decreed that children born after 1793 to enslaved mothers would automatically gain their freedom at age 25, and their descendants would in turn be born free. The Act did not, however, free those who were already enslaved or prevent the sale of enslaved persons either in the province or across the border, though it did ban the admission of enslaved people into Upper Canada — any enslaved persons brought into the province were automatically considered to be free. Though enslavers were required by this new bill to provide security for the enslaved children in their households, and those they had previously enslaved, many skirted the law and few faced legal repercussions. In 1793 in Lower Canada, a bill was presented in the Legislative Assembly to abolish enslavement. However, some members of the Legislative Assembly (some enslavers themselves) objected to the proposed legislation, and it was not passed. More bills would be introduced across the provinces in attempts to regulate and abolish enslavement, most of which would be denied. Nevertheless, they represented a larger movement, led by Black people and their supporters, to push back against the laws protecting enslavement and enslavers and preventing new bills from passing, thus weakening the institution. In February 1798, in a court case that set a precedent, an enslaved Black woman named Charlotte was arrested in Montreal after leaving her enslaver and refusing to return to her. Her case was brought before Chief Justice James Monk, who released her because at the time, enslaved persons could only be detained in houses of corrections and not jails. Due to Montreal’s lack of a house of corrections, Monk ruled that Charlotte could not be detained and she was let go. There were other cases similar to this that diminished enslavement in the Canadian colonies, though their success varied by province. While these judicial abolitionist efforts were happening in Canada, larger anti-enslavement efforts were growing in Britain, a key player in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. British abolitionists had been attempting to dismantle the slave trade and slavery since the 1770s, but it was only with the 1807 Slave Trade Act that the Transatlantic Slave Trade was abolished by the British Parliament, putting an end to the legal maritime trafficking of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic. However, the Act did not end the practice of enslavement in British colonies. Enslavement itself was abolished throughout the British Empire in August 1833 with the Slavery Abolition Act, which took effect on August 1, 1834. That Act made it illegal to own enslaved African people and their descendants. This further emphasized Canada as an important haven for those escaping enslavement in the United States, where it was not abolished until 1865. Refer back to ads #9 and #10 in the Primary Source Analysis Worksheet from Activity 1.2. Identify the date of each ad and the ages of the escaped persons. What does this show us about the 1793 Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada and its implementation? Individuals Boston King (NS) David George (NS) Stephen Blucke (NS) Thomas Peters (NB) Zimri Armstrong (NB) Richard Pierpoint (ON) Peter Martin (ON) John Baker (ON) Sarah Colley and George Wentworth Colley (NS) Gabriel Hall (NS) Richard Preston (NS) EVENTS The Shelburne Racial Attacks, 1784 1785 Saint John Royal Charter Arrival of HMS Regulus, May 1815 (NB) Imperial Statute 1780 1793 Act to Limit Slavery The Petition of Free Negroes “Coloured Troops” and the War of 1812 IDEAS FOR TOPICS