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Black History Spotlight

Thu. Feb. 4, 2021

February is usually the time when we would present a selection of Black History titles on our display shelf in the Library. To help showcase some important works related to slavery, colonialism, war, and identity in a variety of North American contexts, we've put together this slideshow of eBooks, with links their location in the library catalogue below.

These titles can help jump-start your research, or inspire you to learn more - they're a great place to start. Visit our Help with Research page for assistance and expertise with how to plan, perform, and present your research.


Done with slavery : the Black fact in Montreal, 1760-1840
by Frank. Mackey
"Through close examination of archival and contemporary sources, Mackey uncovers largely unknown aspects of the black transition from slavery to freedom. While he considers the changing legal status of slavery, much of the book provides a detailed and nuanced reconstruction of the circumstances of black Montrealers and their lived experience. The resulting picture is remarkably complex, showing the variety of occupations held by blacks, the relationships they had with those they served, their encounters with the judicial and political systems, and the racial mingling that came with intermarriage and apprenticeships."

Becoming African Americans : Black public life in Harlem, 1919-1939
by Clare. Corbould
"Africa has always played a role in black identity, but it was in the tumultuous period between the two world wars that black Americans first began to embrace a modern African American identity. Throwing off the legacy of slavery and segregation, black intellectuals, activists, and organizations sought a prouder past in ancient Egypt and forged links to contemporary Africa. Their consciousness of a dual identity anticipated the hyphenated identities of new immigrants in the years after World War II, and an emerging sense of what it means to be a modern American."

Black then : Blacks and Montreal, 1780-1880's
by Frank Mackey
"A sixteen-year-old slave boy who finds freedom in a most unusual way, a teenage prostitute who does not, a business manager of the 1790s, a four-year-old boy placed as a servant, a respected activist of the 1830s, a fugitive Kentucky slave who makes a name for himself as a jockey and horse trainer - these are some of the people we meet in these thirty stories about black life in and around Montreal between the last days of slavery and the early years of Confederation."

My brother's keeper African Canadians and the American Civil War
by Bryan Prince
"The story of African Canadians who fled slavery in the United States but returned to enlist in the Union forces during the American Civil War. On New Year's Eve in 1862, blacks from across British North America joined in spirit with their American fellows in silent vigils to await the enactment of President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation...Leaving behind their freedom in Canada, many enlisted in the Union cause. Most served as soldiers or sailors while others became recruiters, surgeons, or regimental chaplains. Entire black communities were deeply affected by this war that profoundly and irrevocably changed North American history." 

We're rooted here and they can't pull us up : essays in African Canadian women's history
by Peggy Bristow
"Despite the increasing scope and authority of women's studies, the role of Black women in Canada's history has remained largely unwritten and unacknowledged. This silence supports the common belief that Black people have only recently arrived in Canada and that racism is also a fairly recent development. This book sets the record straight. The six essays collected here explore three hundred years of Black women in Canada, from the seventeenth century to the immediate post-Second World War period."

Negro Comrades of the Crown : African Americans and the British Empire Fight the U.S. Before Emancipation
by Gerald. Horne
"Horne rewrites the history of slave resistance by placing it for the first time in the context of military and diplomatic wrangling between Britain and the United States. Painstakingly researched and full of revelations, Negro Comrades of the Crown is among the first book-length studies to highlight the Atlantic origins of the Civil War, and the active role played by African Americans within these external factors that led to it."

Death or liberty : African Americans and revolutionary America
by Douglas R. Egerton
"Canvassing every colony and state, as well as incorporating the wider Atlantic world, Death or Liberty offers a lively and comprehensive account of black Americans and the Revolutionary era in America."

African Americans in the West
by Douglas. Flamming
"From slaves fleeing bondage in the western territories to African American cowboys and Buffalo Soldiers riding the range during the post-Civil War era to the mass migrations to western cities during World War II, African Americans played an important role in the development of the Western U.S. But did the West really deliver a life of greater freedom and opportunity? From colonial times to the present, this volume captures the experiences of the westward migration of African Americans."

Africville : the life and death of a Canadian Black community
by Donald H. J. Clairmont, Dennis W. Magill
"In the mid 1960s the city of Halifax decided to relocate the inhabitants of Africville--a black community that had been transformed by civil neglect, mismanagement, and poor planning into one of the worst city slums in Canadian history. Africville is a sociological account of the relocation that reveals how lack of resources and inadequate planning led to devastating consequences for Africville relocatees."

Black Canadians : history, experiences, social conditions
by Joseph Mensah 1960-
"Black Canadians provides an authoritative reference for teachers, students and the general public who seek to know more about the Black Diaspora in North America. Arguments made in this book may be unpleasant for those with little appetite for pointed, provocative views and analysis from the standpoint of Black people. For those with a genuine interest in venturing beyond established orthodoxies and simplistic solutions to the contentious ethno-racial problems in Canada, this book will be insightful and worthy of close attention."

Freedom struggles : African Americans and World War I
by Adriane Lentz-Smith 1974-
"For many of the 200,000 black soldiers sent to Europe with the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, encounters with French civilians and colonial African troops led them to imagine a world beyond Jim Crow. They returned home to join activists working to make that world real. In narrating the efforts of African American soldiers and activists to gain full citizenship rights as recompense for military service, Adriane Lentz-Smith illuminates how World War I mobilized a generation."