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Emancipation Day: Organizations & Individuals

We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to Black history and talent in this region.  This is in NO WAY a comprehensive listing, and omits an enormous number of important, influential individuals like George Elliott Clarke, Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard, Portia White, Rocky Jones, Viola Desmond, Bucky Adams… it is notoriously light on athletic accomplishments as well. There are lots of resources available. Please share in the comments of our accompanying blog post any person, historical event or organization you wish to lift up! 

Atlantic Equity and Research Alliance 

AEARA is a community-based organization established to address systemic barriers to people of African descent, Indigenous Peoples and other racialized communities in the Atlantic region (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island), in particular with regards to education, justice, public safety and employment. We are run by a volunteer board of directors, all of whom are people of African descent.

Black Business Initiative

Since 1996, the BBI has been committed to growing a stronger Black presence in Nova Scotia’s business community. They act as a catalyst for job creation, equitable participation, and advancing the economic prosperity of Nova Scotia.

Its affiliated initiatives include:

The Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia

The Society for the Protection and Preservation of Black Culture in Nova Scotia (better known as the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia) was incorporated as a charitable organization as an act of provincial legislation in 1977. The Society has a provincial Board of Directors, made up of representatives from various Black communities throughout Nova Scotia. The Centre is funded in part by the Government of Nova Scotia.


Formed on July 11, 2020 in Cherry Brook, Nova Scotia. This was largely in response to George Floyd’s death and the means to spread awareness by unifying people to MOVE within the BLM Movement, as sitting still does nothing. The group BLM – In this TOGETHER supports the BLM Movement. This is done in contrary to the fact of everything that is going on in this world to Black people and even here in Nova Scotia. The vision is to move within the Movement and to move to dismantle inequality, racism, police brutality, and systematic racism, but also bringing awareness to the impacts of such experiences on one’s overall health.

The Bog (PEI)

At its peak, The Bog was home to as many as 200 members of the Island’s Black community in Charlottetown’s west end. Today, there remains no trace of the neighbourhood and the community where it once stood.

Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes

The Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes (CHL) was an all-Black men’s hockey league that began in  1895 and continued to about 1930. Play was known to be fast, physical and innovative. The league was designed to attract young Black men to Sunday worship with the promise of a hockey game between rival churches after the services. Later, with the influence of the Black Nationalism Movement — and with rising interest in the sport of hockey — the league came to be seen as a potential driving force for the equality of Black Canadians. 

Delmore Buddy Daye Learning Institute

Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute is an Africentric institute that creates educational change for learners, educators and communities of African Ancestry.

East Preston Empowerment Academy

The East Preston Empowerment Academy (EPEA) is a ‘labour of love’ of the East Preston United Baptist Church, which seeks to empower and equip members of the community with the necessary skills, tools and confidence to fulfill their lifelong dreams.

Eddie Carvery

Recently the podcast “Commons” did an episode,  “Last Man in Africville,” interviewing and talking about Eddie’s life mission. Saltwire interviewed him in 2020. This quote is poignant and expresses some of what is so inspiring about Eddie:

“I’ve laid on the ground. I’ve been taunted. I’ve been shot at. I’ve seen the police do dirty tricks. I’ve seen the Ku Klux Klan. I’ve seen my own people turn against me. I’ve seen white people throw rocks at me. I’ve seen the winter, the summer, the spring and the fall,” he said.

“I’ve been through it all. But I’m still here, because I believe what happened was wrong and I believe the only way to fix it is through protesting.”

-Eddie Carvery

Lanier Phillips, NL

Lanier Phillips was shipwrecked off Newfoundland and rescued by people from the Island who nursed him back to health. He later credited the respectful and humane way they treated him, versus the treatment he had come to expect in his native Georgia, as a pivotal change in his life. He maintained a connection to the area and always spoke highly of it in his public engagements. Lanier Phillips became the U.S. Navy’s first African American sonar technician at a time when being a man of colour meant he was seen as inferior. He became an advocate for equal rights and eventually went to work for NASA as a technician in its space program. He has an Order of NL recognition and an honorary degree from Memorial University. 

Measha Brueggergosman

Measha Brueggergosman is a Canadian soprano, born in Fredericton New Brunswick, who performs both as an opera singer and concert artist. She has performed internationally and won numerous awards.

NB Black Artists Alliance 

NBBAA is a multi-disciplinary non-profit organization, aimed at providing a supportive and safe community for Black artists living in New Brunswick. Our work is intended to assist a variety of creatives, ranging from emerging artists to professionals. 

New Brunswick Black History Society

The New Brunswick Black History Society is dedicated to the research, analysis, documentation and preservation of New Brunswick’s Black History. Its objectives are:

  • To gather information concerning New Brunswick’s Black residents, past & present.
  • To promote awareness of New Brunswick’s Black history.
  • To encourage the Black community and the general public to work together.
  • To work towards increasing the presence of Black History in New Brunswick’s educational system.

Nova Scotia Mass Choir

The Nova Scotia Mass Choir is a Canadian choral ensemble based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The choir performs mainly black gospel music, and focuses on spreading the message of racial harmony. It has won two ECMAs. 

It has been a while since the choir has performed (because of COVID, of course) but you can still find CDs and recorded performances online. 

SARfest – St. John’s African Roots Festival 

The St. John’s African Roots Festival (SARFest) organizes an annual music

festival and events that highlight Africans & Afro-descendants in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Scott Parsons, PEI musician, filmmaker and performer

Scott Parsons wrote and recorded a very catchy bluesy song called Jupiter Wise, which you can find on Spotify. The story inspired a film: “Jupiter Wise is a story of Prince Edward Island’s Black History. Jupiter chose to save his master’s young son instead of escaping to freedom. This trailer of historical fiction represents a screenplay by Ryan Gallant, filmed and edited by Eye Witness Productions Canada, directed and scored by Scott Parsons.”

Senior Empowerment sessions

Hat tip to the Halifax Examiner. This mother-daughter pair are organizing a series of virtual information sessions! Find them here.

Find ways to celebrate this important commemoration on our blog!

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