The Afro-Caribbean community of Toronto has grown dramatically over the past few decades. Increasingly active as a political and cultural force in the life of the city, the group remains unknown to many of Toronto's other communities and institutions. Frances Henry offers the first intensive ethnographic examination of the community. Based on in-depth interviews and extensive observation, her study provides a richly detailed overview of the major cultural institutions in the lives of Afro-Caribbean residents of Toronto.
Henry begins with an introduction to the Caribbean region, and the cultural and historical origins of its peoples. She focuses on the cultural practices that shape the community in Toronto, and the extent to which they facilitate or impede incorporation in Canadian society. Henry looks closely at male-female relationships, forms of family organization, and patterns of religious practice, and shows that some cultural patterns have been maintained by members of the community whereas others have changed during the migration process.
Two factors emerge as the key to the Afro-Caribbean experience in Toronto. One is the class differences within the community, which play a crucial role in re-creating stratification patterns similar to those in the Caribbean. The other is systemic racism against people of Afro-Caribbean origin, which impacts in all areas of the community's life in Canada.