How Nova Scotia is marking Emancipation Day

·2 min read
The Pan-African flag was raised at CFB Halifax on July 30 in recognition of Emancipation Day, which is Sunday. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)
The Pan-African flag was raised at CFB Halifax on July 30 in recognition of Emancipation Day, which is Sunday. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)

Nova Scotia will officially observe Aug. 1 as Emancipation Day for the first time this year.

The day marks the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 by the British parliament. The act took effect on Aug. 1, 1834, and marked the end of slavery in British territories.

The House of Commons in Ottawa voted unanimously on March 24, 2021, to designate Aug. 1 as Emancipation Day.

It did not make Emancipation Day a public holiday.

Mia Urquhart/CBC
Mia Urquhart/CBC

The federal government said the day should be a time for Canadians "to reflect, educate and engage in the ongoing fight against anti-Black racism and discrimination."

Nova Scotia held a virtual launch of Emancipation observances on July 28.

Learning and reflection

In a news release, Késa Munroe-Anderson, Nova Scotia's deputy minister of communities, culture and heritage, credited the ongoing efforts of community voices for making Wednesday's ceremony possible.

"Emancipation Day is a time of learning and reflection, not just for people of African descent, but for all Nova Scotians," she said in the release.

In-person activities

A number of Emancipation Day activities, both in-person and virtual, are scheduled throughout Nova Scotia.

A Pan-African flag was raised at the Grand Parade in Halifax on Friday and on the day itself. Another celebration will be held there on Sunday at 6 p.m.

A flag was also raised in Truro on Friday and a flag raising ceremony is scheduled at the Boylston post office in Guysborough on Emancipation Day.

In-person Emancipation Day celebrations are scheduled in Amherst, Dartmouth, Guysborough, Truro and Yarmouth.

Events related to the observance will take place throughout the month of August.

A comprehensive list of in-person and virtual Emancipation Day events can be found on a website set up by the The Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia.

FreeUp! Emancipation Day 2021 is a youth-led celebration of spoken word, dance, theatre and music, as we gather together to celebrate freedom. Join CBC Arts on Aug. 1 at 1 p.m. ET on CBC Gem and YouTube.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.



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