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Black History Learning Journey

An e-learing series exploring systemic racism,a history of colonization & the legacy of Black Nova Scotians.

This year, the Nova Scotia Legislation officially designated August 1st as Emancipation Day in recognition of the history and impacts of slavery in the province. The significance being that on August 1,1834, the British Parliament abolished slavery. Around 800,000 enslaved people of African Descent in the British Colonies, including Canada, were freed. Following the Decolonization Learning Journey (hosted in partnership with Unama’ki College), the Black History Learning Journey is a further exploration of systemic racism and the shared history of colonization. As part of our continued learnings and action, the goal is to continue to increase individual and organizational participation in shared educational spaces, create meaningful dialogue, mobilize the sector, and provide tangible ways to combat anti-Black racism to make Nova Scotia a more inclusive place for people of African descent.

To help lead and guide the conversation, the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia (CSCNS) and the African Nova Scotia Decade of People of African Descent Coalition (ANS DPAD Coalition) have designed an insightful and engaging series to increase awareness about the Black Nova Scotian/ Canadian experience. For over 400 years, African Nova Scotians have been in this province and have helped shape the cultural mosaic of Nova Scotia and Canada, but the legacy that Black Nova Scotians have had in our province and country has only recently been acknowledged. The Black History Learning Journey will explore some of the key aspects of anti-Black racism, provide a history of African Nova Scotians over four centuries, and the impact on the Black experience in Nova Scotia today.

 By examining the past to the present and challenging ourselves to have meaningful, honest conversations about race, systemic anti-Black racism, and decolonization - we can lead a more inclusive future. For there to be transformative change, we must all listen, learn, share and act.

Each series and each session will have a different learning theme. These sessions are designed to enhance personal reflection and to open a dialogue on how to implement change in our organizations. We encourage organizations to have both their staff and board members participate. Ideally, participants will learn progressively throughout multiple series to build their knowledge. Sessions will be recorded so participants can watch and rewatch to suit their schedule, though watching the webinar live will allow for further connection and interaction as we learn together.

Past Sessions

Series 1:
From Past to Present: The History & Legacy of Black Nova Scotians

Series 2:
From Past to Policy: Systemic Barriers Built & Reinforced


Missed the live session? All the recordings of our past sessions are available to access below!

Series 1: From Past to Present:
The History & Legacy of Black Nova Scotians

The first series of our learning journey began with a comprehensive history of people of African Descent in Nova Scotia. For over 400 years, African Nova Scotians have been in this province and have helped shape the cultural mosaic of Nova Scotia and Canada.

The series examines:

  • Slavery in the province;
  • The landing of the Black Loyalists and their connection with Mi’kmaw people;
  • The Shelburne race riot, the first recorded race riot in North America;
  • Black Nova Scotians contributing to and building many iconic Nova Scotian landmarks like Citadel Hill, Halifax City Hall, and the Fortress of Louisburg;
  • Segregation and early anti-Black policies and laws;
  • Broken promises, resistance, displacement and mass migration; and
  • The long-lasting effects of generational trauma

The series concluded with a suite of facilitators discussing how we continue to see the impacts of systemic anti-Black racism today on health, education, housing, employment, and social services. Watch the recordings below for an insightful series exploring the history and legacy of Black Nova Scotians, and using the past to inform the future.

Decolonization: A Shared History

Recorded live on Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

Enslaved Black People - First Landing

Recorded live on Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

"Free" Black People

Recorded live on Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

The Legacy of Slavery

Recorded live on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

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Recorded live on Tuesday, October 5th, 2021


Recorded live on Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

Self Determination (Environmental Racism/Housing)

Recorded live on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021


Recorded live on Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Additional Resources:

  • Coming Soon
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About the ANS DPAD Coalition:

Recognizing that African Nova Scotians are a distinct founding people in Nova Scotia who have been a key part of the province’s culture and history since 1605, the DPAD Coalition’s mission is twofold: to build strength and health across African Nova Scotian communities, and to forge a renewed working relationship with government(s) that creates conditions for all African-descended people in Nova Scotia to thrive.

While acknowledging that much work remains to address the legacy of enslavement, segregation and generational effects of systemic anti-Black racism in Nova Scotia, we strive to call governments out of past attitudes and behaviours—doing to or for African Nova Scotian communities, instead of with—and into a meaningful engagement that respects people as agents in their own solutions. We seek a relationship where African Nova Scotians are engaged, included and listened to at all levels of policy- shaping and decision-making. We also seek to strengthen relationships amongst ourselves to equip communities and organizations to work collectively and holistically across sectors, in an accountable and mutually supportive way.