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Land and Freedom
November 26, 2010 7:39 AM   Subscribe

The Revolutionary War in the US was fought for freedom. For Blacks, the promise of freedom was on the side of the Crown.

Some documented Black Loyalists were evacuated to the Maritimes. While many later went to Sierra Leone, as part of the UK's Black Poor movement, some did remain in Canada.

Some descendants still feel betrayed .

Previously.
posted by QIbHom (45 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
PRUDE is a most unfortunate acronym.
posted by The Thnikkaman at 7:58 AM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Interesting post. Thanks.

Mind you, no FPP on the black community in Nova Scotia is complete without a mention of Africville. Here's one link. And another.
posted by spoobnooble at 7:59 AM on November 26, 2010


Yesterday was Evacuation Day which included the rescue of liberated slaves.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:34 AM on November 26, 2010


Buckingham Palace forwarded the request to Gov. Gen. David Johnston so that he could consult with federal ministers.

Why? What does this have to do with federal ministers or the federal government at all? When the offending Royal proclamation was made in 1785, Canada was still 82 years away from existence.
This is for the Queen and the GG to decide on their own.
posted by rocket88 at 8:35 AM on November 26, 2010


Dang, a day late and a link short. Thanks, blaneyphoto.
posted by QIbHom at 8:45 AM on November 26, 2010


More proof that the American revolution was not an unmitigated good. One could speculate further, that if the British had won that war, they might have been so absorbed in exploiting their North American possessions, that they might have been less tempted to engage in imperialist mischief elsewhere in the world. Many evils might have been avoided. Of course, we would have been deprived of the clear, bold and still-inspiring statements for limiting the power of the state that our America's founding documents, but but we would have been spared the Civil War and the imperialist conflicts of WWI and II.
posted by Faze at 9:02 AM on November 26, 2010


All of this has happened before, and will happen again.
posted by Sam Ryan at 9:17 AM on November 26, 2010


"How is it that we hear the loudest yelps of liberty from the drivers of Negroes?"
-Samuel Johnson
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:15 AM on November 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


I tell you, you guys made a big mistake with that independence caper. It might not be too late, though. If you ask her majesty nicely maybe we'll take you back. And just think - you'd get the NHS! And decent curry! And proper English spelling! What are you waiting for? Swallow your pride!
posted by Decani at 10:22 AM on November 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


'Maybe David Cameron will make me Minister of Laughs'
posted by clavdivs at 10:47 AM on November 26, 2010


decent curry

You mean the bland, monochrome mush you guys buy at street stalls? Come over to Toronto. We'll teach you something about westernized Indian take-out.
posted by saturday_morning at 11:06 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shame on Canadians for feeling superior to Americans! It's all too easy and all too wrong.
posted by drogien at 11:18 AM on November 26, 2010


You mean the bland, monochrome mush you guys buy at street stalls

what

There are probably more Indian restaurants in my area of London than in the entirety of Canada. A good (if crass) rule of thumb for picking the good ones is the number of people eating there whose families originated on the subcontinent. You can find bad curry here but you have to work at it (unless you're in a tourist trap part of town).

I have absolutely no idea what you refer to with 'bland monochrome mush' from a 'street stall', but it is possible, if you believe you have had such an experience with a 'curry' in the UK, that someone was 'pulling your leg'. There are kebab vans who claim to serve curry, but no-one sober takes them seriously.

I had a curry in Toronto once, in what was at the time - I was told - one of the only Indian restaurants there. Interestingly, it was bland, monochrome mush, falsely billed as biryani. Spectacularly overpriced too. This was years ago, though - I'm glad to hear the Indian restaurant situation in Toronto has improved.
posted by motty at 11:35 AM on November 26, 2010


You mean the bland, monochrome mush you guys buy at street stalls?
posted by saturday_morning at 7:06 PM on November 26


What in the name of all that's sane and spicy are you blathering on about? Bland? Monochrome? Mush? STREET STALLS? Have you actually had an Anglo-Indian? Have you actually been to England? Are you sure it was Heathrow you landed at and not Crazyport, Imaginoland?
posted by Decani at 11:41 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


You mean the bland, monochrome mush you guys buy at street stalls? Come over to Toronto. We'll teach you something about westernized Indian take-out.

I'll teach you something about Toronto: It is in Canada, which is a part of the British Commonwealth, as are India, Jamaica, and a fucktonne of decent curry dishes, which I'm pretty sure was sort of the point of Decani's little joke there.

What was this thread about, again?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:11 PM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kind of interesting topic drift, as a lot of Toronto curry comes from India via the Caribbean. As I understand it, there has been a bit of a divide between Black Canadians of Caribbean decent and people descended from those who escaped slavery in the US.
posted by QIbHom at 12:25 PM on November 26, 2010


"How is it that we hear the loudest yelps of liberty from the drivers of Negroes?"
-Samuel Johnson


Is that in the same movie where he has the 'bad mother fucker' wallet? oh wait... JOHNson. skimming too quickly again...
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 1:18 PM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Many Native Americans also preferred the British to the insurgent colonists. The British, in theory, seemed more willing to treat with the Native Americans as equals. Indeed, some colonists felt aggrieved by British restrictions on westward settlement into "Indian Territory," restrictions which they saw as the product of negotiations between the British metropole and the native nations to which the colonists were not invited.

See "Indians and the American Revolution," Wilcomb E. Washburn (the formatting is a bit screwy, but I couldn't find another source):

"In the end the Indian was the loser. That he would have been a loser even if the King had repressed the rebellion is probable; but his decline would not have been so swift or so bitter."
posted by dhens at 1:37 PM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


The excellent Octavian Nothing series of books is about this.
posted by subdee at 1:57 PM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


This dovetails nicely with my pet peeve about those sci-fi stories where people have to go back in time and "correct" history.

Imagine being a colonial era farmer on the eve of the Revolutionary War...you discover the smoldering wreckage of some strange construction, at the edge of the forest near your farm. You pull five Negroes from the flames, unburned, apparently protected by their strange, silvery, form-fitting clothing.

They claim to be free men, and their odd clothing certainly is not the garb of slaves or farmhands. Offering them room and board, you overhear them one evening... it's a nefarious plot to kill George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin!
posted by Xoebe at 2:14 PM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


but we would have been spared the Civil War and the imperialist conflicts of WWI and II.

The colonists' rebellion being crushed is such a drastic alt-history point of departure that we can't possible extrapolate the effects that far into the future. It's true that World War I and II would likely have not happened exactly as they did, but we have no idea what if anything would have occurred instead. It's possible something just as bad or worse would have happened.
posted by Justinian at 2:22 PM on November 26, 2010


The American Revolution might have been American but it was definitely not a "Revolution".

It had nothing to do with 'freedom', it had more to do with the merchants saying "wait...I gotta pay taxes on shit I sell...to England?...How about we start a 'revolution'. Yeah, yeah...and its gonna be based on life, liberty, and the pursuit of property!...oh wait...Hide your money folks...there's poor people around!!!! I meant life, liberty, and umm...the pursuit of...HAPPINESS" Yeah yeah. That way I don't have to pay taxes to an entity who really doesn't take care of my business interests".

Well the south does need workers for their crops...and there's nothing better than a slave for business! So yeah, this applies to white people only...mostly men though. HOOK IT UP DUDES...lets go get some tail, and see if old B-dog franklin has another pearl on his necklace. I love his stories, that horndog"
posted by hal_c_on at 2:35 PM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


You mean the bland, monochrome mush you guys buy at street stalls? Come over to Toronto. We'll teach you something about westernized Indian take-out.

I'll teach you something about Toronto: It is in Canada, which is a part of the British Commonwealth, as are India, Jamaica, and a fucktonne of decent curry dishes, which I'm pretty sure was sort of the point of Decani's little joke there.


I just love it when 'Anglos' fight over who has better control over people from the Indian Subcontinent.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:38 PM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


There are probably more Indian restaurants in my area of London than in the entirety of Canada.

I don't see how this is possible considering Toronto is among the most multicultural cities on the planet (it's number one as a percentage of foreign-born residents--almost 50%) and there's been a little india for almost forty years.

So unless you were here looking for aloo gobi in the 1960s... well, you're ridiculously misinformed.
posted by dobbs at 4:56 PM on November 26, 2010


Eh, England needed to be slapped around, good and proper like.
posted by nomadicink at 5:43 PM on November 26, 2010


The American Revolution was definitely a Revolution. While the War part (the American War for Independence) was primarily a military conflict, the societal changes that lasted from the 1770's to 1800 are drastic that effected everything from politics, law, economics, literature, philosophy, international relations, and architecture. Even if you don't feel that the Revolution was an unmitigated positive force, it was definitely quite the upheaval from late colonial to early republic society in all facets. Saying that it wasn't is akin to saying that the French Revolution wasn't a Revolution because the House of Bourbon got restored.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:06 PM on November 26, 2010


The American Revolution was definitely a Revolution. While the War part (the American War for Independence) was primarily a military conflict, the societal changes that lasted from the 1770's to 1800 are drastic that effected everything from politics, law, economics, literature, philosophy, international relations, and architecture.

I'm not buying it. The societal changes you mention are the same that happened when Obama took over after Bush...or even when Bush took over after Clinton. So unless you can tell me that we have had 2 revolutions in America in the 21st century, not a revolution.

It was more like a "umm...yeah...new currency!"
posted by hal_c_on at 9:55 PM on November 26, 2010


If the American non-revolution had never happened, we would never have had internet threads that veer so far into self-parody as to suggest that the colonial British Empire was an unmitigated force for good in the world.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:55 PM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


So where do I go for the good curry again?
posted by glip at 10:17 PM on November 26, 2010


Are you telling me that during the last ten years, brand new political systems came into being in the United States? I'm not just talking about who is charge, but the very framework of government? Military philosophy? Modern-day republics? The shifting of colonial architecture to new forms? There was no where near the turmoil (not just due to war) during the last decade in the US than Colonial America went through to wind up at the Early Republic Era. It was not seamless. We went through 2 Constitutions. We had several internal rebellions. We had the implementation of church-state separation. We had the breaking off of the US Anglican Church to form it's own Episcopal Church. Did many of these things have beginnings prior to 1770's and external to the American Colonies? No doubt, but the three decades at the end of the 18th century were not just a continuation of business as usual; they were rapid shifts across the whole of society.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:56 PM on November 26, 2010


To put this derail to rest: I am a Torontonian and also an Englishman. Like many people in this city, I am an immigrant, like many Brits I spend much of my time abroad. In other words, I'm completely bi-national and am in no way biased to one side or the other.

Toronto is diverse, but the UK has a much bigger ethnic-Indian community as a proportion of its population. Curry, in Toronto, is just one of many food choices on offer, and tends to be, well, restaurant food: as frequently found as Ethiopian food, or Thai food or Italian food.

In the UK, the very large South Asian population has lead to a remarkable and wholly distinctive British Indian cuisine which is like nothing available in Toronto (or indeed in India, for that matter). A trip to a London or Swansea or Glasgow curry house carries with it a whole set of social and culinary expectations that non-Brits find baffling, but which are so normal to those acclimatised to British life that they actually form a significant part of modern British national identity.

You can get good Indian food in Toronto, just as you can get good jerk chicken and fine cordon bleu. But British Indian is an experience you can only really get in the British Isles (and about atmosphere and social ritual just as much as about food), and something I really miss when I'm over here.

Let all here know that judgement has been rendered. This derail may not be set aside; I decree it!
posted by Dreadnought at 11:03 PM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, may *now* be set asside.
posted by Dreadnought at 11:05 PM on November 26, 2010


Are you telling me that during the last ten years, brand new political systems came into being in the United States?
Whether I am or am not isn't the question here. The real question is whether you think a brand new political system came into being following the American "revolution".

The ONLY people to benefit from the American revolution were the people that were bing f'd over by georgie3; the rich.

I agree with a lot of things you are saying:
framework of government-check
military philosophy-arguable, but I'll agree with you here; check
architecture-ummm...even more arguable...but I'll agree with you here because I have a few anecdotes that would support your view; check.

What I'm saying is that the above only affected a small group of people...the rich...who were tiny in comparison to the rest of the population.

If you define revolution as "change" rather than "entire upheaval", then yes...it was a revolution. But it wasn't dramatic, most people weren't affected (even if they had to change the name on the door from "anglican" to "episcopal").

Most people were not affected by anything more than a new sense of nationalism.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:11 PM on November 26, 2010


If you define revolution as "change" rather than "entire upheaval", then yes...it was a revolution. But it wasn't dramatic, most people weren't affected (even if they had to change the name on the door from "anglican" to "episcopal").

In Virginia alone, half the parishes closed as the debate about whether the Anglican Church was innately loyalist. In the North, the numbers were even higher.

I'm trying to figure out how you would categorize a revolution now. Does the French Revolution count? The Velvet Revolution? The Glorious Revolution? The Industrial Revolution?

And the rich weren't the only people affected by it for sure. The disestablishment of state churches alone made quite a bit of difference in the everyday layman's life, either if they were on the losing side (the Anglicans) or the winning one (Baptists, Methodists, etc). Due process also changed. The change in how American ships could combat piracy. The entire tax, fee, import, and tariff structure. The westward expansion that almost immediately followed the Revolution (though it might not have been a great thing, quite a few non-rich people were part of the large migration).

In the end, all of these things expressed a change that altered nearly all levels of the social sphere to some extent. If we're to call the Color Revolutions after the dissolution of the USSR revolutions, there's no reason not to call the American Revolution one.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:24 PM on November 26, 2010


And yes, I understand that for some during any revolution, there will be a "meet the new boss, same as the old boss", but that sentiment should not detract from all of the lasting or temporary changes that occur.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:28 PM on November 26, 2010


I don't understand why you are arguing that the American revolution was a Revolution because of religion.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:56 AM on November 27, 2010


Canada's last segregated school was closed in Nova Scotia in 1983.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:17 AM on November 27, 2010


Also it was a revolution in the sense that we got rid of hereditary rulers as a guaranteed fact of life. We abolished the link between man and God finally and forever in a way that lots of other nations still haven't. Sure the asshole keeps trying to sneak back in, but we don't have a figurehead who has the divine right to rule us all as our ultimate symbol of national leadership. So there is that.
posted by Peztopiary at 7:43 AM on November 27, 2010


The post was informative and educational, however the comments are the real entertainment.
posted by sorrowandpain at 8:18 AM on November 27, 2010


I'm trying to say that religion is was a big part of life in Colonial America and that it's one of the spheres of society that was affected by the American Revolution. I've listed others. It wasn't the neat "changing the name on the door from "Anglican" to "Episcopalian". For a lot of people at the time, religion mattered and religious institutions were quite shaken by Revolution.

There are two ways to look at what a revolution is. One is the conventional meaning of a change in the political system which the American Revolution undoubtedly is. The other meaning is something that causes a change in a society, which the American Revolution still is because it wasn't just a political alteration; it affected many of the aspects in Colonial America. Even if you have misgivings about the positive effects of the American Revolution, a historian will tell you that there was a large upheaval of society from 1770 to 1800. So anyway you dice it, it was the American Revolution (and not simply a war of independence, which it obviously was too).
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:21 AM on November 27, 2010


Just like now its not about black or white, but the color of green.

"The inability of the colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of George III and the international bankers was the PRIME reason for the Revolutionary War."
-Benjamin Franklin
posted by sorrowandpain at 8:59 AM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just love it when 'Anglos' fight over who has better control over people from the Indian Subcontinent.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:38 PM on November 26


Oh, get to fuck. We're fighting over whose "people from the Indian subcontinent" have the best control over us with their awesome grub.

And the answer is England. I am wholly enslaved by the Tooting curry monsters, and so would you be if you had the good fortune to live here.
posted by Decani at 3:27 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The inability of the colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of George III and the international bankers was the PRIME reason for the Revolutionary War." -Benjamin Franklin

Franklin probably never wrote or said any such thing.
posted by jedicus at 8:33 PM on November 27, 2010


jedicus: I agree. That quote is neither 18th-century English nor sufficiently elegantly phrased to be worthy of attribution to Franklin.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:45 PM on November 28, 2010


Seconding Octavian Nothing. Amazing books. Though the first one is deliriously strange and the second is grim and dour, making two halves that don't really match. But brilliant on both sides of the equation.
posted by Erroneous at 10:24 AM on November 30, 2010


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