Today, we celebrate not a person, but an historic destination – the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. It shares the story of an amazing group of Black people who lived there in the late 18 th century – at that time, comprising the world’s largest free African population outside of Africa. As the Black Loyalists Heritage Centre notes, “…Black Loyalists […fled enslavement when they were] offered their freedom by the British to serve in the British military against the Americans during the American [Revolutionary War].” After the War, in 1783 and 1784, approximately 3,500 Black Loyalists were relocated to the Maritimes. Sadly, and perhaps predictably, the Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia faced racism, unfair treatment, great hardship and even violence. Eventually, about 1,500 emigrated to Africa, settling in Sierra Leone in 1792. Nevertheless, many Black Loyalists chose to stay in Nova Scotia, creating a proud legacy of strength, resourcefulness, faith and determination in which their descendants take great pride. On the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre’s two-acre property is a National Historic Site commemorating the 1783 Black Loyalist Landing in Nova Scotia. The Centre’s Lindsay Gallery features a multimedia presentation about the journey of Black Loyalists, from Africa to the American colonies, then to Nova Scotia and back to Africa. If you want to learn more about the history of Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia, the Centre is definitely worth visiting!
(Source: Black Loyalist Heritage Centre website, The Canadian Encyclopedia)