Dear MSVU students, faculty and staff,

I write to you today to mark the first Emancipation Day in Nova Scotia. Earlier this year, the NS Legislature and Canadian House of Commons passed bills to annually recognize the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British empire. On Aug. 1, 1834, the Slavery Abolition Act came into effect across the British Empire, freeing enslaved people of African descent throughout the colonies, including Canada.

On the day the legislation to establish Emancipation Day was introduced in the NS Legislature this spring, the Honourable Tony Ince, Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs and the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives said: “The institution of slavery was foundational to the history of systemic anti-Black racism that has impacted people of African descent in Nova Scotia for generations. Celebrating Emancipation Day is one way to encourage all Nova Scotians to recognize and reckon with the legacy of anti-Black racism and honour the contributions of Nova Scotia’s historic Black communities as we work to build a more equitable future.

I encourage all members of the MSVU community to mark this day by engaging in acts of reflection and learning. The university will fly the Pan-African flag to mark Emancipation Day.

Emancipation Day is a reminder that in order to move forward, we must understand our past. At MSVU, and with the guidance of the Students of African Descent Advisory Committee, we will continue to explore how we can be part of critical efforts to combat racism and ensure a safe and welcoming campus community for all.



Ramona Lumpkin, CM, PhD
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor
Mount Saint Vincent University