The Hanging of Angelique

The Hanging of Angelique

The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal

eBook - 2011
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Writer, historian and poet Afua Cooper tells the astonishing story of Marie-Joseph Angélique, a slave woman convicted of starting a fire that destroyed a large part of Montréal in April 1734 and condemned to die a brutal death. In a powerful retelling of Angélique's story — now supported by archival illustrations — Cooper builds on 15 years of research to shed new light on a rebellious Portuguese-born black woman who refused to accept her indentured servitude. At the same time, Cooper completely demolishes the myth of a benign, slave-free Canada, revealing a damning 200-year-old record of legally and culturally endorsed slavery.

Publisher: HarperCollins Canada


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Jan 31, 2018

Canadians are adept at whitewashing our racist history, whether it’s the Chinese head tax, the Komagata Maru incident, the internment of Japanese Canadians in WWII, or, of course, residential schools. Afua Cooper shines some light on the history of slavery in Canada, telling the story of Marie-Josèphe-Angélique, a Portuguese-born black slave living in Montreal. Cooper recounts Angélique’s story in the broader context of European and American slavery, and the social structure of 18th century Quebec.

It’s not an easy book to read—Angélique was hanged for an arson she may not have committed—but not just because of the subject matter. Cooper’s prose is full of passive voice and has a numbing cadence, surprising for a published poet. But it’s an important subject that makes what’s sometimes a slog worth the effort.

Nov 10, 2009

A great read of a part of Canada's past that is little known. You can tell that the author did extensive research and yet she let's her voice as a professor/poet shine through.

With regards to Canada and slavery all I was ever taught about was the Underground Railroad. I never knew about this!!! Slavery in Canada is almost like a dirty little secret.

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