A groundbreaking, four-part collection is about to air on the Historical past Channel this weekend, exploring the untold tales of Black historical past in Canada.
BLK: An Origin Story takes Canadians on a nationwide journey of discovery into the individuals, communities, and never-before-heard tales of Canada’s Black inhabitants.
Govt producers Jen Holness and Sudz Sutherland crossed the nation, listening to tales and placing collectively a collection “that resets the understanding of Black historical past in Canada,” mentioned Holness.
Viewers will study Canada’s unfiltered Black historical past in 4 hour-long episodes that target communities in Nova Scotia, Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec.
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The present’s narrative is helped alongside by acquainted names: George Elliot Clarke, Lawrence Hill, Charmaine Nelson, El Jones, Might Q Wong, and Stephanie Allen all assist inform the tales.
Omission and erasure
The present’s first episode is about in Nova Scotia, uncovering among the myths and misconceptions in regards to the historical past of Black communities on the East Coast.
Viewers are in for some stunning revelations once they notice how a lot of this historical past was omitted from their college curriculum.
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“Once we have been youngsters, the one point out of Black historical past was throughout Black Historical past Week — it wasn’t even a month then, only a week,” Sutherland informed World Information.
“At the moment lecturers informed us: ‘Black individuals used the Underground Railroad to get to Nova Scotia after which they lived fortunately ever after.’ That was it. It was like a real-life fairytale, when that wasn’t even near the reality. There was no company, no resistance in these tales. It was simply this story that Black individuals have been liberated by Canadians.”
And that’s simply the tip of the omission iceberg.
Holness factors to a phase within the first episode that shines a light-weight on the horrible therapy of Black individuals in Nova Scotia, which they finally escaped by the boatful to return to their house nations or, in lots of circumstances, the place they have been first enslaved.
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“The situations should have been so unhealthy,” she mentioned. “And you may’t chalk it as much as: ‘Nicely, these individuals have been going again to be with their households’, as a result of why would anybody go away a possibility? Why would anybody go away land, and property, and area to return to a rustic that, for probably the most half, had Jim Crow and much more entrenched segregation?”
Surprising historical past, even for the creators
Sutherland says he and Holness have been stunned — and even shocked — at among the discoveries that got here to mild throughout their analysis for the present.
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“One of many issues that shocked us was studying that one of many first non-Native settlers on Vancouver Island have been Black,” mentioned Sutherland.
“The truth that James Douglas (the primary Governor of the Colony of British Columbia) was bi-racial was very stunning, even to us. We had no thought about these items, nobody talked about these items.
“I didn’t know that the Black Loyalists and the Black refugees have been two solely completely different teams altogether. Folks conflate them,” added Holness.
The collection additionally appears on the bonds between Black Canadians and the Indigenous individuals dwelling on the land.
“At a sure level in our historical past it turns into not possible to only discuss Black contributions with out acknowledging and exploring how Indigenous individuals labored with Black individuals,” mentioned Sutherland.
BLK: An Origin Story premiers on The Historical past Channel
Black and non-Black Canadians will profit
Sutherland and Holness informed World Information their present is for all Canadians, and anybody who watches will study one thing information.
“Sure, there’s a lot within the collection that non-Black Canadians shall be stunned to study, however there’s additionally numerous data that even Black Canadians don’t know,” mentioned Sutherland.
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“So many individuals assume Canadian historical past is so boring, however it isn’t — it’s simply been sanitized for 200 years. A lot of this historical past occurred in our lifetimes, it’s not that way back. ”
The time is now
Holness says the docuseries comes at an ideal time.
“Whereas there have been different movies and reveals that sort out Black historical past, what makes our collection so essential, I consider, is it’s now the time,” she mentioned.
Untold tales of Black Canadians
“It’s the time when the nation of Canada is definitely prepared to just accept its historical past, its complacency. It’s the right time to start out questioning what we’ve understood and present among the erased historical past — these are info, we’re not creating narratives. These are erased or marginalized info.
“For the on a regular basis Canadian, these collection present you the way this nation has harmed Black individuals, regardless of Black individuals being so instrumental in serving to to construct this nation.”
BLK: An Origin Story, premieres Saturday, Feb. 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The Historical past Channel.
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