Slavery: A Crime Against Humanity
On Friday February 23 a cross section of Montrealers gathered at the Black Coalition of Quebec meeting hall at 5201 Decarie Blvd in Montreal for a conference on Black History, and to reflect on the contributions of people of African descent in the development of Quebec and Canadian societies.
The conference focussed on slavery in Quebec with discussions centered on Nigger Rock, an area located in St-Armand (Phillipsburg) just south of Montreal, where Black slaves were buried en masse.
Organizers say many in this province and across the country have little knowledge of this segment of our history, and little is known about the sacrifices of Black people, especially on the issue of slavery in various areas. Dan Philip, head of the BCQ reflected on the words of Marcus Garvey who stated: “A people without the knowledge of their history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
And he urged those attending the conference to be mindful of their past: “As a people, we must know our history, we must know our past, our today, so that we can understand and prepare for our future.”
Participants at the conference also discussed the question of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which brought more than 200 million Black slaves through the Middle Passage to different countries in the Americas. Tens of thousands perished along the way.
In 2001 the United Nations declared it a Crime Against Humanity.
The Coalition sees it also as “A Crime Against the Black Community” and every year it commemorates the legacy of slavery and its impact on society, particularly its impact on the Black community through continuing acts of racial discrimination, racial profiling and exclusion.
The BCQ also organizes a pilgrimage each year to St-Armand (Nigger Rock) in memory of the sacrifices of our ancestors.
According to Philip: “As a society, and a people, we must constantly fight against the cancer of racism in society.”