The Book of Negroes: Black Canadian Immigration Roll

0 Posted by - April 23, 2019 - Black History

At the end of the Revolutionary War, over 3,000 Black Loyalists departed the recently formed United States for Canada. Nova Scotia to be exact. A harsh, cold land that is prime for fishing and farming throughout—just in the areas settled by Black people. Before the Black Loyalists arrived in Nova Scotia, there were documented in the Book of Negroes.

 

BOOK OF NEGROES

As the name suggests, it was a 150-page British immigration roll that took names, ages, occupations, and origins. While the majority of Blacks were settled throughout the Caribbean following the War, the Book of Negroes focuses on those sent to Canada. The bulk of these Black Nova Scotians would settle Birchtown. Records were taken in 1783.

Considered the vast number of Blacks throughout North and South America, a record of 3,000+ Black people in Canada would seem insignificant. The roll documents Blacks in detail. That’s very important given how sparsely detailed Black existence in North America was even with the introduction of the Census. While for a number of the names listed their origins start with slavery in the book, it does put an actual origin point on paper for Black people arriving in a new land. This is different from arriving from Africa and nothing of detail being taken down.

While for a number of the names listed their origins start with slavery in the book, it does put an actual origin point on paper for Black people arriving in a new land. This is different from arriving from Africa and nothing of detail being taken down.

It should be noted that there is an American and British version. In he U.S., it is called “The Black Loyalist Directory: African Americans n Exile After the American Revolution.” It is housed in the Kew, London’s The National Archives. The U.S. version in Washington D.C.’s National Archives and Records Administration.

SOURCE:  http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/slaves-british-loyalists-book-negroes-revealed-n307161

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