Citation

Unsilencing the Past: Historicizing and Memorializing the History of Black People in British Columbia, 1858-2008

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Abstract:

In 2008, the province of British Columbia commemorated its 150th anniversary as a colony/province. Millions of dollars were spent on commemorate activities as the province went into BC 150 frenzy. Yet, in spite of the fact that Black Canadians were one of BC’s founding groups, in fact, it was because of the presence and work of African Americans that the colony was secured for Britain, there was a huge silence regarding the contributions of Black people to the development of the province.
As the Ruth Wynn Woodward Visiting Professor of Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University, Afua Cooper embarked on creating an exhibit that delved into and detailed the history of Black British Columbians over the course of two centuries in recognition of their role in the founding of the province. I used the medium of photography and the method of photo-history to tell the story. The exhibit Black Communities in British Columbia, 1858-2008 was launched in Feb. 2009 to wide acclaim. A major objective of the exhibit was to explore the economic activities of Black entrepreneurs such as Mifflin Gibbs and Peter Lester who opened one of the first general stores in Victoria, and built the province’s first railroad. These African Americans turned British subjects had come north to Canada in search of economic and social justice. The exhibit is currently showcased at the City of Vancouver Archives.
This presentation will explore the process by which Dr. Cooper chose BC’s Black people and their history as worthy subjects of commemoration. It will also investigate the perceived place and role of Black people in the Canadian imaginary and history, and argue for the use of public history as a tool for combating marginalization and silence.
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
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http://www.asalh.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p436297_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Cooper, Afua. "Unsilencing the Past: Historicizing and Memorializing the History of Black People in British Columbia, 1858-2008" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p436297_index.html>

APA Citation:

Cooper, A. "Unsilencing the Past: Historicizing and Memorializing the History of Black People in British Columbia, 1858-2008" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p436297_index.html

Publication Type: Invited Paper
Abstract: In 2008, the province of British Columbia commemorated its 150th anniversary as a colony/province. Millions of dollars were spent on commemorate activities as the province went into BC 150 frenzy. Yet, in spite of the fact that Black Canadians were one of BC’s founding groups, in fact, it was because of the presence and work of African Americans that the colony was secured for Britain, there was a huge silence regarding the contributions of Black people to the development of the province.
As the Ruth Wynn Woodward Visiting Professor of Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University, Afua Cooper embarked on creating an exhibit that delved into and detailed the history of Black British Columbians over the course of two centuries in recognition of their role in the founding of the province. I used the medium of photography and the method of photo-history to tell the story. The exhibit Black Communities in British Columbia, 1858-2008 was launched in Feb. 2009 to wide acclaim. A major objective of the exhibit was to explore the economic activities of Black entrepreneurs such as Mifflin Gibbs and Peter Lester who opened one of the first general stores in Victoria, and built the province’s first railroad. These African Americans turned British subjects had come north to Canada in search of economic and social justice. The exhibit is currently showcased at the City of Vancouver Archives.
This presentation will explore the process by which Dr. Cooper chose BC’s Black people and their history as worthy subjects of commemoration. It will also investigate the perceived place and role of Black people in the Canadian imaginary and history, and argue for the use of public history as a tool for combating marginalization and silence.


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