Canadian racism and slave history remains hidden

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

To most Canadians, the history of African-Americans in Canada is that of the Underground Railroad or The Book of Negros, but that is not the whole history. Canadians had African-American slaves just like the U.S., and African-Americans face racism in Canada just as much as other groups.

A lot of attention in Canada is paid to the racism against Aboriginal people or the struggle of French-speaking Canadians but racism against other groups seems to be missing in news coverage.

At McGill University, Charmaine Nelson is the only black art historian in Canada. Nelson has found that students go into university not having any idea of the slavery that happened in Canada. This is in part thanks to the fact that Canada’s black history is not in the education curriculum before university and, even then, there is little space to cover it. Why is that black history is not a part of the Canadian education curriculum?

Maclean’s published an article on Jan. 22, 2015, comparing the racism in the U.S. towards African-Americans against that of Canada’s racism toward Aboriginal people, but it never addressed the issue of Canada’s racism against African-Americans. On Jan. 19, 2015, ran an article about how racism against African-Americans needs to become part of the conversation across Canada. McGill University has held panel discussions on racism and black history in Canada, but the panels have not been not been covered by mainstream media.


Bah, Valerie. “Reviving Canada’s Conversation on Anti-Blackness.” January 19, 2015. Accessed February 17, 2015.

Cupido, Marina. “Panel Ties Police Violence in Canada, Ferguson to Systemic Racism | The McGill Daily.” The McGill Daily. October 6, 2014. Accessed February 17, 2015.

Gilmore, Scott. “Canada’s Racism Problem? It’s Even Worse than America’s.” Maclean’s. January 20, 2015. Accessed February 17, 2015.

Stevenson, Verity. “Racism, the Canadian Way | News.” The Link. February 17, 2015. Accessed February 17, 2015.

Student Researcher: Ashley Robinson (University of Regina)

Faculty Evaluator: Patricia Elliott (University of Regina)