August 1 is Emancipation Day

In 2021, the Canadian government officially designated August 1 as Emancipation Day. This date marks the day slavery was abolished across the British Empire. Today it is a time to celebrate Black communities, learn about the history of enslavement in Canada, and reflect on opportunities to address anti-Black racism and discrimination.

Educate yourself:

Learn the story of slavery in Canada through the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

Visit sites along Niagara’s Freedom Trail, including the Salem Chapel BME Church in St. Catharines.

Read books:

Here are a few recommended titles:

Gutter Child by Jael Richardson
Borrow the book | Read the eBook

Black Matters by Afua Cooper
Borrow the book

I Am Still Your Negro by Valerie Mason-John
Borrow the book | Read the eBook

The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power by Desmond Cole
Borrow the book | Read the eBook | Listen to the audiobook

Watch movies:

12 Years a Slave
The Book of Negroes

Attend local events:
Matter of Black and Black Owned 905, in partnership with the City of St. Catharines and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, are hosting Emancipation Day activities. Find the full schedule here.