News release

Nova Scotia Commemorates Emancipation Day

Nova Scotia will mark August 1 as Emancipation Day to honour the anniversary of the British parliament’s decision to abolish slavery across its empire in 1834.

“It has not always been fully acknowledged that people of African descent were enslaved in Nova Scotia,” said Pat Dunn, Minister responsible for African Nova Scotian Affairs. “Recognizing August 1 as Emancipation Day is another opportunity to learn more about the history of people of African descent while continuing to address the systemic anti-Black racism still faced today.”

A provincial Emancipation Day ceremony will be held on Monday, August 1, at 10 a.m. and will be livestreamed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noxWINotTuM

Community-led Emancipation Day events are being held throughout August, including a Family Fun Day in Dartmouth, a Seniors Tea in Lincolnville and activities at Grand Parade in Halifax. A list of events can be found at http://emancipationdayns.ca/events

Quotes:

As a province, we come together to renew our commitment to equity, peace and dignity for all. We continue to structure our institutions and communities around the value of inclusion so that past harms are not repeated. Arthur J. LeBlanc, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia

Emancipation Day is significant in our world’s history. This is due to the communities that have led the way in recognizing and honouring this important time. I hope more jurisdictions can join Nova Scotia in commemorating and further educating people about Emancipation Day. Dwayne Provo, Associate Deputy Minister, African Nova Scotian Affairs

Recognition of Emancipation Day in Nova Scotia is an acknowledgement of the past hurt endured by enslaved people of African descent. It is also a stark reminder that the slave trade was once prominent on the shores of our province. Russell Grosse, Executive Director, Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia

The enslavement of our African ancestors was dehumanizing and brutal from the time they were stolen from their homes. However, they remained courageous, resolute and resilient in their fight, which is why we are standing here today. We celebrate their spirits and share their stories as inspiration to break those visible chains of racism and discrimination that we suffer with today. Louise Delisle, Advising Chair and Founder, South End Environmental Injustice Society

Quick Facts:

  • the Province designated August 1 as Emancipation Day in the legislature on April 13, 2021
  • the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, which took effect in 1834, freed about 800,000 enslaved people of African descent throughout the British colonies
  • during the time of enslavement, more than 15 million African women, men and children were victims of the transatlantic slave trade
  • there were about 400 enslaved Black people among the nearly 3,000 residents of Halifax in 1750, more than 13 per cent of the population
  • the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is observed on August 23, in recognition of people of African descent in Haiti and the Dominican Republic fighting for their freedom in 1791, leading to their liberation from European colonizers

Additional Resources:

Emancipation Day: http://emancipationdayns.ca

Emancipation Day Poster, English: https://ansa.novascotia.ca/sites/default/files/inline/documents/emancipation_day_poster_english.pdf

Emancipation Day Poster, French: https://ansa.novascotia.ca/sites/default/files/inline/documents/emancipation_day_poster_french.pdf

Legislation Recognizes Emancipation Day in Nova Scotia: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20210413007

Nova Scotia Museum Emancipation Day Resources: https://museum.novascotia.ca/emancipation-day

Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia: https://bccns.com

African Nova Scotian Affairs: https://ansa.novascotia.ca/content/commemorating-emancipation-day

African Nova Scotian Affairs on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AfricanNSAffairs

African Nova Scotian Affairs on Twitter: https://twitter.com/OfficeofANSA

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