The real history of slavery in Canada

Dr. Charmaine A. Nelson. Photo: Meghan Tansey Whitton

Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Transatlantic Black Diasporic Art & Community Engagement and Founding Director of NSCAD’s Institute for the Study of Canadian Slavery Dr. Charmaine Nelson regularly delivers media interviews and presentations examining the history of slavery in Canada.

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Past Issues:
Welcome Fellows
Fellows’ Talks


Media interviews

CBC Radio One (August 1, 2021) – Emancipation Day and confronting Canada’s history of slavery

The Coast (July 29, 2021) – What Canada’s first Emancipation Day means

CBC Mainstreet (July 20, 2021) – What Black people in the British Empire endured when slavery was legal

CBC Mainstreet (July 13, 2021) – Nova Scotians profited from slavery but we haven’t ‘reckoned with and rectified’ this history

CBC Mainstreet (July 6,2021) – Nova Scotia’s slave history largely erased because it didn’t fit stereotypes seen in film


Upcoming events

Virtual Fellows’ Talks

Tonya “Sam’Gwan” Paris
Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 6-7 p.m. AST

Zoom link
Passcode: k1wxpG

Tonya “Sam’Gwan” Paris will give a virtual studio tour to unveil her new work, Freedom is No Game. In this work, Paris responds to Canada’s legacy of Indigenous residential school systems and historic involvement with the Transatlantic Slave Trade to create a one-of-a-kind custom giant chess set.

Jason Cyrus
Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 4:30-5:30 p.m. AST

Zoom link
Passcode: 55C8eB

Jason Cyrus chronicles Black Canadian history from the perspective of dress, enslavement, and resistance with his presentation Dressing for the Resistance: Style as Amour Among Black Canadians.

For more information, accessibly inquiries or to request to join virtual Fellows’ Talks by phone, please contact:


Past events

Virtual Fellows’ Talks

The Canadian Press on “quant à ce qui concerne Bahia”: White fear, Racism and the International News Coverage of the Muslim African slave rebellions. Bruno R. Verás – December 2, 2021

Dr. Nelson’s presentations

“She commonly wears a handkerchief round her head” presented by the Humanities Research Group at the University of Windsor – October 26, 2021

Unravelling the Mystery: Edmonia Lewis and Bute presented by the M0unt Stuart Trust – October 22, 2021

Confronting exclusion and redefining heritage goals presented by the National Trust for Canada Conference – September 30, 2021,

*N.B. This was a paid registration  ($75 for students – more information here)

What former enslaved people celebrated in 1834 with slavery’s demise in the British Empire presented by NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage – August 10, 2021

A Conversation with Charmaine Nelson presented by the Thomas Moore Institute – May 28, 2021

A Hidden History: Slavery in Canada – May 14, 2021

Grappling with the Colonial Archive: An Introduction to Canadian Slavery  – March 2, 2021

Graduate Student Panel on Transatlantic Slavery– February 25, 2021