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Chapter 11 - Black Activism, Print Culture, and Literature in Canada, 1850–1865

from Part III - Black Geographies in Transition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 April 2021

Teresa Zackodnik
Affiliation:
University of Alberta
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Summary

This chapter documents and explores Black activism, print culture, and literature in Canada West. In response to the Compromise of 1850, Canada West sees the North American Convention of Colored Freemen held in Toronto (September 10, 1851), the emigration of Mary Ann Shadd to Windsor – where she will publish A Plea for Emigration (1852) and her newspaper, The Provincial Freeman (1853–9) – and John Brown’s visit seeking to “legitimize his projects in the United States by obtaining an endorsement from the Black community in Chatham.” As Siemerling puts it, at mid-century Chatham had become “one of the secret capitals of Black North America.” In his larger argument for reading a rich tradition of Black writing in Canada West contrapuntally as both transnational and part of a national Canadian tradition, he also draws our attention to how important Canada West was as both an emigration site and one in which to imagine and plan the staging of revolution. Siemerling is careful to note that Canada West should be considered not only a transnational space but, importantly, also a national space in which these practices of Black geography counter ongoing attempts to “insistently exteriorize Blackness from Canada.”

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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