The Hanging of Angelique

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The Hanging of Angélique, The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal, written by Afua Cooper, is the story of not just Marie-Joseph Angélique, a black slave in 18th century Montréal accused, tried and hanged for arson, but gives insight into the entire African slave trade and brings to the forefront the thousands of African slaves here in Canada, a fact that has been “bulldozed and ploughed over” (P 7)1, while we ridicule our southern neighbours for their involvement in the very same industry. It is also a useful tool in the study of everyday life during this time period in New France, including their personal interactions, economic pillars, cultural beliefs, and overall social structure. Dr. Afua Cooper is a leading authority on Canadian black history and slavery; she has devoted her life to uncovering the past and educating the public on the little known subject of black slavery in Canadian history. She is a renowned presenter, scholar, poet, and author, having published five books of poetry, and several books both historical and historical fiction2 in her efforts to bring to light “Canada’s sorry history of slavery and racism” (P XII)1. She is currently the Ruth Wynn Woodward Endowed Chair in Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia2. Fifteen years of research went into the telling of Angélique`s story, using a variety of methods including court and business records, including Angélique’s trial transcripts, newspapers containing advertisements for the purchase and sale of slaves (P 97)1 and other histories of slavery. It is these many details that Dr. Cooper has included that helps the reader to become immersed in the story. From the haunting description of la question ordinaire et extrodinaire (P 17-19)1, the rise and fall of Portugal as a maritime superpower (P 24)1 , and the descriptions of the city and buildings that were destroyed so easily (P 142-3)1. She tells the story of not only Marie-Joseph Angélique,...
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