Summer Undergraduate Research Experience
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Black Writers Matter by Whitney French 

An anthology of African-Canadian writing, Black Writers Matter offers a cross-section of established writers and newcomers to the literary world who tackle contemporary and pressing issues with beautiful, sometimes raw, prose. As Whitney French says in her introduction, Black Writing Matters “injects new meaning into the word diversity [and] harbours a sacredness and an everydayness that offers Black people dignity.” An “invitation to read, share, and tell stories of Black narratives that are close to the bone,” this collection feels particular to the Black Canadian experience.

Fear of a Black Nation: Race, Sex, and Security in Sixties Montreal by David Austin 

In the 1960s, for at least a brief moment, Montreal became what seemed an unlikely centre of Black Power and the Caribbean left. In October 1968 the Congress of Black Writers at McGill University brought together well-known Black thinkers and activists from Canada, the United States, Africa, and the Caribbean, people like C.L.R. James, Stokely Carmichael, Miriam Makeba, Rocky Jones, and Walter Rodney. Within months of the Congress, a Black-led protest at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia) exploded on the front pages of newspapers across the country, raising state security fears about Montreal as the new hotbed of international Black radical politics.

Howard, Brianne, and Sarah Smith. “The Little Black School House: Revealing the Histories of Canada’s Segregated Schools-A Conversation with Sylvia Hamilton.” Canadian Review of American Studies, vol. 41, no. 1, 2011, pp. 63–73.

Segregated schools are a widely documented component of American history. Conversely, in Canada, provincially legislated segregation of Black Canadians has not been fully acknowledged. This historical amnesia raises numerous questions about the construction of Black experiences in both countries. This interview examines Sylvia Hamilton’s documentary The Little Black School House (2007), which explores the past as a means to contribute to the ongoing vitality of Black communities.

In The Black: My Life by B. Denham Jolly 

In the Black traces B. Denham Jolly’s personal and professional struggle for a place in a country where Black Canadians have faced systematic discrimination. He arrived from Jamaica to attend the University of Guelph in the mid-1950s and worked as a high school teacher before going into the nursing and retirement-home business. Though he was ultimately successful in his business ventures, Jolly faced both overt and covert discrimination, which led him into social activism. 

The Little Black School House  by Sylvia Hamilton

Locate an upcoming screening:

A documentary directed and produced by Sylvia Hamilton that unearths the story of the Black Ontarians and Nova Scotians who were students and teachers in Canada’s racially segregated schools. 

Live from the Afrikan Resistance! By El Jones

Live from the Afrikan Resistance! is the first collection of spoken word poetry by Halifax’s fifth Poet Laureate, El Jones. These poems speak of community and struggle. They are grounded in the political culture of African Nova Scotia and inherit the styles and substances of hip- hop, dub and calypso’s political commentary. They engage historical themes and figures and analyze contemporary issues — racism, environmental racism, poverty, and violence — as well as confront the realities of life as a Black woman.

Mason, Alleson. “The Education of African Canadian Children: Critical Perspectives by Ibrahim, A. & Abdi, A. (Eds.).” Cultural and Pedagogical Inquiry, vol. 10, no. 1, 2018, pp. 16-30. 

Hundreds of thousands of African Canadian children demand and deserve quality education that promotes success both within and outside of school. Recognizing that the education these young people receive will shape their lives as citizens, the contributors to this volume provide an important, timely analysis of the educational experiences of African Canadian children and youth.

Phanuel Antwi, and David Chariandy. “Introduction to Writing Black Canadas.” Transition, no. 124, 2017, pp. 31–37.

Guest editors Phanuel Antwi and David Chariandy present and introduce materials that attest to the diversity of Black Canadian writing and embody the contemporary spirit of resistance.

African Nova Scotians: Nova Scotia Public Archives 

This digitized collection provides a cross-section into African Nova Scotian life, with archival material honouring the No. 2 Construction Battalion, the residents of Africville in Bob Brooks’ historic portraits, Viola Desmond, and much more. 

Library and Archives Canada, RG 76, Volume 192, File 72552, “Immigration of Negros from the United States to Western Canada.”

This collection, courtesy of Steven Schwinghamer at the Canadian Museum of Immigration, gives us insight on how Black movement and immigration was policed in day to day life. From postmasters intercepting Black immigration applications, to influential persons painting a Canada in which no fruit, corn, or livestock could exist, we are shown how antiBlack racism was enacted transnationally to sustain the picturesque “Great White North”. 

The Lynn Jones African-Canadian & Diaspora Heritage Collection

Saint Mary’s University, in cooperation with Dr. Lynn Jones, African Nova Scotian leader and activist, now proudly houses The Lynn Jones African-Canadian & Diaspora Heritage Collection in the University Archives. The Collection documents the lives of Lynn, her family, and over 50 years of African, African Diasporic and African-Nova Scotian heritage and history. Key parts of the collection include materials on: civil rights and social justice struggles in Halifax, Canada and beyond; Lynn’s career as an athlete, politician, union activist, and work as an election observer for the 1994 South African Presidential election of Nelson Mandela; the activism of Lynn’s brother, Burnley “Rocky” Jones and many others; thousands of news clippings, programs, reports and other material documenting Black life (e.g. the histories of local Black communities and institutions, an obituary collection, news coverage of local and international racial segregation and apartheid, clippings on famous athletes and environmental racism).