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Anti-Black Racism

Books & eBooks

Centennial College Libraries has a rich collection of anti-racist fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by Black Canadians. Check out some of our resources below or try using the suggested searches on the left to find more.

Nonfiction

Unsettling the Great White North: Black Canadian History

Unsettling the Great White North considers histories and theoretical framings within the disciplines of history, sociology, law, and cultural and gender studies to chart the mechanisms of exclusion and marginalization in "multicultural" Canada and to situate Black Canadians as speakers and agents of their own lives. 

Black Skin, White Masks

A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and Black consciousness movements around the world, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the Black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952, the book remains a vital force today from one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history.

Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter Canada

The killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012 by a white assailant inspired the Black Lives Matter movement, which quickly spread outside the borders of the United States. The movement's message found fertile ground in Canada, where Black activists speak of generations of injustice and continue the work of the Black liberators who have come before them.

The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power

A bracing, provocative, and perspective-shifting book from one of Canada's most celebrated and uncompromising writers, Desmond Cole.

Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada From Slavery to the Present

Delving behind Canada's veneer of multiculturalism and tolerance, Policing Black Lives traces the violent realities of anti-blackness from the slave ships to prisons, classrooms and beyond.

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker, and expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion.

Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing From White Supremacy

Do Better is a revolutionary offering that addresses racial justice from a comprehensive, intersectional, and spirit-based perspective. This actionable guidebook illustrates how to engage in the heart-centered and mindfulness-based practices that will help us all fight white supremacy from the inside out, in our personal lives and communities alike. It is a loving and assertive call to do the deep—and often uncomfortable—inner work that precipitates much-needed external and global change.

Black Like Who?: Writing Black Canada

Rinaldo Walcott's groundbreaking study of black culture in Canada, this book caused such an uproar upon its publication in 1997 that Insomniac Press has decided to publish a second revised edition of this perennial best-seller.

Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950

In Colour-Coded, Constance Backhouse illustrates the tenacious hold that white supremacy had on our legal system in the first half of this century, and underscores the damaging legacy of inequality that continues today.

Fear of a Black Nation

In the 1960s, for at least a brief moment, Montreal became what seemed an unlikely centre of Black Power and the Caribbean left.

Black Canadians: History, Experiences, Social Conditions

The ongoing struggle against racism and discrimination for black Canadians is explored in this authoritative reference for those seeking to learn more about the black diaspora in North America. This work examines more than 300 years of black Canadian history, from the first migration of slaves, black loyalists, and Civil War refugees to the expansive movement brought about by the establishment of the point system in 1967.

Flying Fish in the Great White North: The Autonomous Migration of Black Barbadians

As recently as the 1960s, the Canadian government enforced discriminatory, anti-Black immigration policies, designed to restrict and prohibit the entry of Black Barbadians and Black West Indians. The Canadian state capitalized on the public's fear of the "Black unknown" and racist stereotypes to justify their exclusion.

Razing Africville: A Geography of Racism

In the 1960s, the city of Halifax razed the black community of Africville under a program of urban renewal and 'slum clearance.' The city defended its actions by citing the deplorable living conditions in Africville, ignoring its own role in the creation of these conditions through years of neglect and the refusal of essential services.

Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle

In Canada, the Caribbean, and the United States, black women inhabit diasporic locations marked by the legacy of violence and slavery. Analyzing diverse literatures and material geographies, McKittrick reveals how human geographies are a result of racialized connections, and how spaces that are fraught with limitation are underacknowledged but meaningful sites of political opposition.

The Hanging of Angélique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal

The Hanging of Angélique sheds new light on the largely misunderstood or ignored history of slavery in Canada. Cooper refutes the myth that Canada was a haven at the end of the Underground Railroad and provides a context for Canada in the larger picture of transatlantic slavery while re-creating the tragic life of one woman who refused to accept bondage.

North of the Color Line: Migration and Black Resistance in Canada, 1870-1955

North of the Color Line examines life in Canada for the estimated 5,000 blacks, both African Americans and West Indians, who immigrated to Canada after the end of Reconstruction in the United States. 

A Place Called Heaven: The Meaning of Being Black in Canada

Exploring how crime, violence, immigration and women's issues all influence and affect the present and future of the Black people in Canada, Foster shatters the myth of Black cultural homogeneity and looks behind the stereotypes and statistics to find out what's happening within the Black community itself.

The Road to Now: A History of Blacks in Montreal

Blacks have always been a part of the Québec experience-from the original European explorations to enslavement, from Confederation to the present day. Dorothy Williams returns to the roots of black history by chronicling slavery in Montreal, which lasted officially in New France for seventy-one years.

Viola Desmond's Canada: A History of Blacks and Racial Segregation in the Promised Land

In 1946, Viola Desmond was wrongfully arrested for sitting in a whites-only section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. In 2010, the Nova Scotia Government recognized this gross miscarriage of justice and posthumously granted her a free pardon.

Canada's Forgotten Slaves: Two Centuries of Bondage

This groundbreaking history documents the roots of slavery in everyday colonial Canada and the extreme measures taken by subsequent generations to eradicate any record of their presence. 

They Call Me George: The Untold Story of the Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada

They Call Me George: The Untold Story of the Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada

Drawing on the stories and legends of influential early Black Canadians, this book narrates the history of a very visible, but rarely considered, aspect of Black life in railway-age Canada. These porters, who fought against the idea of Canada as White Man's Country, open only to immigrants from Europe, fought for and won a Canada that would provide opportunities for all its citizens.

The Black Battalion: Canada's Best Kept Military Secret

The Black Battalion: Canada's Best Kept Military Secret

Black military heritage in Canada is still generally unknown and unwritten. Most Canadians have no idea that Blacks served, fought, and died on European battlefields, all in the name of freedom. The story of the overt racist treatment of Black volunteers is a shameful chapter in Canadian history. It does, however, represent an important part of the Black legacy and the Black experience. 

The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Toronto!

The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Toronto!

The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Toronto! stands out as an engaging and highly readable account of the lives of Black people in Toronto in the 1800s.

Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy

Among the important stories that need to be told about noteworthy Canadians, Lincoln Alexander's sits at the top of the list. From facing down racism to challenging the postwar Ontario establishment, becoming Canada's first black member of Parliament, entertaining royalty as Ontario's lieutenant-governor, and serving as chancellor of one of Canada's leading universities, Alexander's is the ultimate, uplifting Canadian success story, the embodiment of what defines Canada.

Essays & Short Stories

Black Writers Matter

An anthology of African-Canadian writing, Black Writers Matter offers a cross-section of established writers and newcomers to the literary world who tackle contemporary and pressing issues with beautiful, sometimes raw, prose.

Odysseys Home

Odysseys Home: Mapping African-Canadian Literature is a pioneering study of African-Canadian literary creativity, laying the groundwork for future scholarly work in the field. Based on extensive excavations of archives and texts, this challenging passage through twelve essays presents a history of the literature and examines its debt to, and synthesis with, oral cultures.

Scratching the Surface

Scratching the Surface brings together 14 anti-racist feminists who examine ways in which race and gender interact to shape the lives of women of colour in Canada.

We're Rooted Here and They Can't Pull Us Up

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.

Reports

Black Experience Project in the GTA

"Launched in 2010, the Black Experience Project (BEP) is a seminal research study focused on examining the lived experiences of individuals who self-identify as Black and/or of African heritage living in the Greater Toronto Area, or GTA (the Regions of Toronto, York, Durham, Peel and Halton). Led by the Environics Institute for Survey Research, along with lead partners the United Way of Toronto and York Region, the YMCA of the Greater Toronto Area, and Ryerson’s Diversity Institute, this study aims to provide a better understanding of the lives of Black individuals within the GTA, including the factors leading to their successes and challenges." (BEP, 2017)

Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement

"Building on the groundbreaking report Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys, this companion piece, Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement, explores the diverse, multidisciplinary, and cross-sector work to advance black male achievement. Based on interviews with 50 philanthropic, nonprofit, government, academic, and business leaders, the report also offers recommendations for what it will take to strengthen the field moving forward." (Open Society Foundation, 2014)

Doing Right Together for Black Youth: What We Learned from the Community Engagement Sessions for the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan

"This report shares the top 10 issues for Black youth and their families, ideas on the best ways to engage Black youth in meaningfully shaping the development and implementation of the BYAP projects, as well as the important characteristics of organizations that can meet the needs of Black youth." (YouthRex, 2017).

ONE VISION ONE VOICE: Changing the Ontario Child Welfare System to Better Serve African Canadians

"One Vision One Voice is a program led by the African Canadian community. It is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services through the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies and addresses the overrepresentation and experiences of disparities faced by African Canadians after coming into contact with the child welfare system." (One Vision, One Voice, 2016).

This Issue Has Been with Us for Ages: A Community Assessment of Police Contact Carding in 31 Division

"In the summer of 2014, Logical Outcomes led a community-based research project called the Community Assessment of Police Practices (CAPP) to examine community satisfaction with the Toronto Police Service in 31 Division. The study took a participatory action research approach and engaged over 400 community members. The report was released in November, and its recommendations presented to the Toronto Police Services Board." (YouthRex, 2014).

Towards Race Equity in Education: The Schooling of Black Students in the Greater Toronto Area

"This report summarizes the experiences, issues and concerns raised during community consultations and a conversations with young people. With Toronto District School Board data as reference, and based on their own experiences as parents, educators, community members, and students, participants also spent time reflecting on two main questions:

  • What is happening in the schools that impact Black students that contribute to their educational outcomes?
  • What is happening in the homes and communities of Black students that contribute to these outcomes?" (James & Turner, 2017).
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