February in Canada and in the USA is the month when we celebrate Black history. Most people maybe more aware of the Black Heritage in the United States due to the long history of the black culture from the days of slavery to the multiple challenges to struggle for equality. But fewer may not be so informed of the long history within Canada. Here is some information on Black History in Canada below. You can also find more information on the federal government website www.canadianheritage.gc.ca
175th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire
Be it therefore enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That from and after the first Day of August One thousand eight hundred and thirty-four all Persons who in conformity with the Laws now in force in the said Colonies respectively shall on or before the first Day of August One thousand eight hundred and thirty-four have been duly registered as Slaves in any such Colony, and who on the said first Day of August One thousand eight hundred and thirty-four shall be actually within any such Colony, and who shall by such Registries appear to be on the said first Day of August One thousand eight hundred and thirty-four of the full Age of Six Years or upwards, shall by force and virtue of this Act, and without the previous Execution of any Indenture of Apprenticeship, or other Deed or Instrument for that Purpose, become and be apprenticed Labourers; provided that, for the Purposes aforesaid, every Slave engaged in his ordinary Occupation on the Seas shall be deemed and taken to be within the Colony to which such Slave shall belong.
An Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies, 1833
On August 28, 1833 the Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies received Royal Assent and became law throughout the British Empire. The Act came into force on August 1, 1834. It was the result of a long and arduous campaign by abolitionists internationally, and in the British Parliament by an alliance of Evangelical Anglicans and Quakers led by William Wilberforce, M.P. (1759-1833).
Upper Canada, now Ontario, was a pioneer in this movement. In 1793, Governor John Graves Simcoe passed the Anti-Slavery Act. This law freed slaves aged 25 and over and made it illegal to bring slaves into Upper Canada, which became a safe haven for runaway slaves.
Simcoe’s law also made Upper Canada the first jurisdiction in the Empire to move toward the abolition of slavery. In so doing, it brought about the creation of the Underground Railroad through which approximately 30,000 Black people escaped to British North America between 1800 and 1865.
In 2008, the Government of Canada is commemorating the 175th Anniversary of the Act for the Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire and to recognize the courageous efforts of many men and women who succeeded against considerable odds in the fight for freedom and human dignity.