Towards Freedom: The African-Canadian Experience


288 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-895642-20-5
DDC 971.004'96





Reviewed by Joseph Leydon

Joseph Leydon teaches geography at the University of Toronto.


Towards Freedom attempts to shed light on the largely forgotten
African-Canadians who have resided in this country since the early 17th
century. It also aims to tell the story of Canadian nation-building from
a black perspective. The authors begin their journey in the present, by
reflecting on the increased incidence of race-based crimes and
anti-immigrant sentiment across Canada. They go on to present a
chronology of the black experience in Canada, from slavery in New France
up to present-day life. Their book provides a broad survey that blends
the narrative of black history and culture with a record of black
achievements in the arts, politics, sports, and business.

The authors, both of whom are educators, devote considerable attention
to education policy and the need for an anti-racist education
curriculum, as well as to the science of racism. Although worthy of
consideration, both issues could have been dealt with more succinctly.
In addition, the book’s emphasis on African-American issues tends to
detract from our understanding of the various organizations and
individuals that have represented, and agitated on behalf of,
African-Canadians. Caveats aside, though, this book provides all
Canadians, irrespective of color or ethnicity, with an accessible
overview of African-Canadian history. The text should also prove useful
in a high-school setting if used judiciously by educators.


Alexander, Ken, and Avis Glaze., “Towards Freedom: The African-Canadian Experience,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 23, 2024,