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Marchers in the 1975 Emancipation parade.The 1975 Emancipation parade made its way down Ouellette Ave. from Chatham St. to Jackson Park. Activities this year are spread between several venues.

Emancipation activities an opportunity for reflection as well as celebration

Emancipation Day should be a day of celebration, but it should also be a day of reflection, says Clinton Beckford, UWindsor vice-president for equity, diversity, and inclusion.

His office is a sponsor of Emancipation Jubilee activities organized by the Black Council of Windsor-Essex this weekend.

“Emancipation brought an end to one of the most sordid chapters in human history- the Transatlantic Slave Trade and enslavement of Africans in the Americas, but the debilitating effects of slavery continue to reverberate in all aspects of our society today,” Dr. Beckford says. “We must commit ourselves to never letting this happen again, but also making amends and righting wrongs.”

The Abolition of Slavery Act was passed on Aug. 28, 1833, to bring an end to slavery throughout the British Empire. It took almost a full year for the act to come into effect on Aug. 1, 1834. The Canadian parliament voted unanimously earlier this year to designate Aug. 1 as Emancipation Day, although local celebrations date back to at least 1932.

“Windsor of course had had a long and storied history with slavery and freedom as a major station on the Underground Railroad which brought runaway slaves from the southern United States to freedom in Canada,” says Beckford. “Windsor therefore has a long history and tradition with Black struggle, triumph, and excellence.”

This year’s events include:

  • Saturday, July 31, 3 to 11 p.m.
    Caribbean and African food, a fashion show, youth Black history performance, dance workshops, music, selection of youth ambassadors, at the Caribbean Centre, 2410 Central Ave.
  • Sunday, Aug. 1, 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
    barbecue, church service, gospel choir concert, youth Black history performance, community conversations, celebration of church anniversary at Sandwich First Baptist Church, 3652 Peter St.

For more information, contact the Black Council of Windsor-Essex at blackcouncilofwindsoressex@gmail.com.