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Social Science Minority Studies

Blacks in Canada

A History

by (author) Robin W. Winks

foreword by George Elliott Clarke

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2021
Minority Studies, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 1997
    List Price

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Blacks in Canada journeys from the introduction of slavery in 1628 to the first wave of Caribbean immigration in the 1950s and 1960s. Heralded in the Literary Review of Canada as one of the one hundred most important Canadian books, this enduring work by Yale University's Robin W. Winks offers a wealth of information for fresh interpretation.

Now, fifty years from its original printing, this third edition includes a foreword by George Elliott Clarke, E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto. Clarke's contribution adds a necessary critical lens through which twenty-first-century readers should view Winks's research. The longevity of Blacks in Canada is due to an impressive array of primary and secondary materials that illuminate the experiences of Black immigrants to Canada. These experiences include the forced migration of enslaved Black people brought to Nova Scotia and the Canadas by Loyalists at the end of the American Revolution, Black refugees who fled to Nova Scotia following the War of 1812, Jamaican Maroons, and fugitive slaves who fled to British North America. The book also highlights Black West Coast businessmen who helped found British Columbia, particularly Victoria, and Black settlement in the prairie provinces.

Crucially, Blacks in Canada investigates the French and English periods of slavery, the abolitionist movement in Canada, and the role played by Canadians in the broader continental antislavery crusade, as well as Canadian adaptations to nineteenth- and twentieth-century racial mores.

About the authors

Robin W. Winks (1930–2003) was Randolph W. Townsend Professor of History and chair of the Department of History, Yale University.

Robin W. Winks' profile page

George Elliott Clarke is a Canadian poet and playwright. Born in Windsor Plains, Nova Scotia, he has spent much of his career writing about the Black communities of Nova Scotia and served for a time in the African-American Studies department at Duke University. He earned a BA Honours degree in English from the University of Waterloo (1984), an MA in English from Dalhousie University (1989), and a PhD in English from Queenâ??s University (1993). In addition, he has received honorary degrees from Dalhousie University (LLD), the University of New Brunswick (LittD), the University of Alberta (LittD), and the University of Waterloo (LittD). He is currently professor of English at the University of Toronto.

In 2001 he won the Governor Generalâ??s Literary Award for poetry for his book Execution Poems. Clarkeâ??s work largely explores and chronicles the experience and history of the black Canadian community of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, creating a cultural geography that Clarke often refers to as Africadia. Clarkeâ??s Whylah Falls was one of the selected books in the 2002 edition of Canada Reads, where it was championed by Nalo Hopkinson.

George Elliott Clarke's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Winks has laid the lasting structure of the history of Black people in Canada in this monumental work, which will endure as the model against which all future historians of this 'event' must gauge their work." Austin Clarke

"No review can do justice to the rich data provided by this book. Blacks in Canada will prove a mine of information to scholars for years to come." August Meier, Journal of American History

Other titles by Robin W. Winks

Other titles by George Elliott Clarke

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