Book Review: The Hanging of Angelique by Afua Cooper

The Hanging of Angelique by Afua Cooper

Black History is an integral part of the Burke’s Bookstore programming. That means that during the month of February Burkes hosted a variety of events and encouraged individuals,families and the community at large to become involved with the contributions of Blacks to the world.  As we know, history cannot be undone. But history should never be repeated especially when it was inhumane and violent…especially if it subjugates others and treats them less than chattel. This slave part of Canadian history is often not told though it is well researched and wonderfully chronicled in Ms. Cooper in this book.

Although the first recorded Black person to arrive in Canada was Mathieu Da Costa. he was not a slave. He spoke French and other languages…and was an interpreter. but Blacks were still enslaved in New France. According to Rosemary Sadlier in her book, The kid’s book of African Canadian history, the first enslaved African in new France was sold into slavery at the age of seven. Slavery lasted in Canada for more than 200 years. This is a part of Canadian history that should and must be told.

Afua Cooper’s book The Hanging of Angelique tells the poignant and heart-wrenching story of Marie-Joseph Angelique who tried to escape the harshness of enslavement.

She—like most enslaved Africans, despised the inhumane treatment meted out by their oppressors. Angelique did not get far, nevertheless. Instead, she was caught and accused of starting a fire that destroyed a part of Montreal in 1734. She was found guilty for her alleged crime; paraded through the streets and hung. This too is a part of Canadian history that needs to be told.

Learn More: The hanging of Angelique

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