Why not tell the whole story

Editor: The Semiahmoo Library should include The Hanging of Angélique and The Book of Negroes in their Black History Month display.


Last week, I recommended to the Semiahmoo Library that they ought to include The Hanging of Angélique by Afua Cooper and Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes in their Black History Month book display.

But this advice has been rejected, which is a shame, for both books have much to tell us about the history of slavery during colonial times.

According to Ms. Cooper, slavery was legal and practised widely from 1628 to 1833 in Canada.

As recently as 10 years ago, the United Nations released a report stating that Africans suffer racism in Canada, giving as an example the 1970 forced relocation of blacks from the Africville neighbourhood in Halifax. The then-Liberal government denied such claims.

Due to graphic descriptions that permeate both books, perhaps they could be displayed publicly with a qualifier, as the subject matter may be too intense for young readers.

Yet the core message – the harmful consequences of discrimination – is one that can ill-afford to be passed on.

Bob Burgel, Surrey