On August 1st 2021 Nova Scotia formally recognized Emancipation Day, the day named to commemorate the anniversary of British parliament abolishing slavery across its empire in 1834, freeing about 800,000 enslaved people of African descent throughout its British colonies. Recognizing the existence of slavery in Nova Scotia’s past, how it shaped centuries of our history, and its continued resonance today is vital.
Nova Scotia Archives is home to many records documenting the history of slavery across the province (including in Halifax, Annapolis and Sable Island among others). The documents collected in this resource build context around the recognition of Emancipation Day – including Nova Scotia’s history of slavery, the experience of enslaved people, the contemporary reaction to Emancipation (primarily from newspapers), and records of life after emancipation.
Newspaper advertisement for sale of a woman (age 35), two boys (ages 12 and 13), two male teenagers (ages 18), and a man (age 30) in Halifax
Date: 30 May 1752
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Halifax Gazette 30 May 1752 page 2 (microfilm 8152)
Newspaper advertisement for the return of an enslaved girl, Halifax
Date: 01 September 1772
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Nova Scotia Gazette and The Weekly Chronicle Volume III, Number 105, Halifax, 01 September 1772
Bill of sale for an enslaved woman named ‘Dinah’, Halifax
Date: 19 November 1776
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives MG 100 volume 113 number 51
Bill of sale for enslaved man 'Abram', recorded at the Colchester County Registry of Deeds
Date: 29 July 1779
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Colchester County Register of Deeds volume 1 page 468
Newspaper advertisement for the return of enslaved man 'James', placed by Abel Michener of Falmouth, 1781
Date: 22 May 1781
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Nova Scotia Gazette 22 May 1781 page 3
Newspaper advertisement for the return of two enslaved men, Digby
Date: 3 July 1792
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Royal Gazette and The Nova Scotia Advertiser
Supreme Court Case between Frederick William Hecht and Phebe Moody, heard at Halifax 1799
Date: 1799 "Easter Term"
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives RG 39 "C" Halifax volume 81 number 16
Newspaper advertisement for the lease of an enslaved woman
Date: 24 June 1800
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Royal Gazette Volume XIII, Number 646, Halifax, 24 June 1800
Examination of Samuel Andrews, Esq. for his part in "willfully and maliciously murdering a black woman called Jude"
Date: 18 January 1801
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives RG 42 Shelburne volume 1 file 4.3
James DeLancey v. William Woodin (plaintiff's statement of claim against the defendant for harbouring 'Jack', an enslaved man)
Date: 20 August 1803
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives RG 39 "C" volume 1 number 2A
Letter from James Morris to Michael Wallace, offering for sale a 'negro servant' to be employed on Sable Island
Date: 26 July 1806
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives RG 31 series 120 volume 2 number 160
Petition of John Taylor and other Loyalist slaveholders to the General Assembly to uphold their 'right' to keep slaves
Date: 3 December 1807
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives RG 5 series A volume 14 number 49
Newspaper article 'Slave Emancipation'
Date: 3 July 1833
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Nova Scotia Royal Gazette Volume XXXII, Number 27, Halifax, 3 July 1883
Newspaper articles 'Trade and the West Indies' which tackles the 'agitation of the West India question, and the promulgation of the ministerial plan for negro emancipation' and an Editorial
Date: 25 July 1833
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives The Novascotian, or Colonial Herald, Volume VI, Number XXX, Halifax, 25 July 1833
Newspaper item on the resolutions agreed to by the House of Commons on the subject of Colonial slavery
Date: 8 August 1833
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives The Novascotian, or Colonial Herald, Volume VI, Number XXXII, Halifax, 8 August 1833
Nova Scotia Archives — https://archives.novascotia.ca/african-heritage/results/
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