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Celebrating Black History and Emancipation Day


On August 1, 1834, one year after the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act, people of African descent and their allies held the first Emancipation Day celebrations to mark the end of African enslavement in most of the British Empire. In Canada, the Caribbean and around the world, Emancipation Day celebrations also became a focal point for ongoing efforts for freedom, human rights, and citizenship. On March 24, 2021, the House of Commons voted unanimously to designate every August 1 as Emancipation Day across Canada.

Join us to honour the history, heritage, diversity, achievements and contributions of Black Canadians and celebrate a pivotal part of our history as a nation. To commemorate this occasion, a diverse group of panelists will share stories of what Emancipation Day means to them as individuals and in their communities. This inspiring conversation will include:

  • the history and significance of Emancipation Day in Canada and around the world
  • how Canada's ever-changing communities celebrated Emancipation Day throughout the past three centuries
  • how this living history can influence the ways public servants work together to dismantle anti-Black racism in the workplace and our communities

A live Q&A session will follow the panel discussion.

This event is part of the Canada School of Public Service's Anti-Racism Event Series and is presented in collaboration with the Federal Black Employee Caucus (FBEC).

Learn more about the Anti-Racism Event Series and Anti-Racism Learning Series.


  • Natasha Henry, President of the Ontario Black History Society and a historian, author, educator and curriculum consultant
  • Suzan Richards, Founder and Artistic Director, The Cultural Arts Studio
  • Sean Foyn, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, Federal Black Employee Caucus


Trudy Samuel, Senior Director, Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Natural Resources Canada

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