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Brigid Maya’s Biography

The Rev. Brigid Maya Douglas currently serves St. James United Church in Toronto, Ontario.
“Brigid Maya”, as she prefers to be called, is of Taίno (‘Arawak’ Indigenous) & African-Jamaican ancestry who prefers “she/her’, “they/them” pronouns. Before she became a pastor, she was a schoolteacher for 22 years covering Kindergarten to Grade 8 core subjects as well as Music, Dance and Dramatic Arts. Her formal education spans from McGill University for her B.Ed., graduating as a Scarlet Key (1994), to Emmanuel College of Victoria University with an M.R.E. (2008) and M.Div. (2016). Reflecting theologically on life’s events and issues is what she has always done and continues to do as the resident womanist theologian at her church and in her community. For the National Church office, she was the first Chair of the Standards for Accreditation of Ministry Personnel Committee, and she chaired the Mental Health Working Group. Her community activism includes addressing food insecurity in Toronto by working with the ‘Daily Bread Food Bank’, ‘Not Far from the Tree’, as well as supporting her church’s ‘Food Basket.’ In 2020, she spoke at the city’s Canada Day rally against the nooses found at Toronto construction sites. She produced (initiated, scripted, and managed) the UCC Black Clergy video in response to the murder of George Floyd. Her anti-Racist work also includes writing for the UCC 40 Days of Engagement on Anti-Racism, as well as facilitating study groups on the resource. She has also facilitated study groups on the books White Fragility and The Skin We’re In, engaging clergy and laypeople from diverse churches across Canada.
Brigid Maya recently spoke at the Annual Theology Conference for Queen’s University on Decolonizing the Beatitudes in October 2022, and at Cambridge University’s Barth-Cone Symposium on The Sin of the Dehumanization of Racism within the Toronto Context in December 2022. Her life’s ministry includes storytelling, dancing, canoeing, and travelling.

Harvey Amani Whitfield

Harvey Amani Whitfield is Professor of History at the University of Calgary. He attended Dalhousie University for his MA and PhD.  Whitfield is the author of several books, including Blacks on the Border: The Black Refugees in British North America, 1815-1860, North to Bondage: Loyalist Slavery in the Maritimes, and Black Slavery in the Maritimes: A History in Documents.  His book, Biographical Dictionary of Enslaved Black People in the Maritimes, was published in late March 2022 with the University of Toronto Press. The book has received very positive reviews and the Hill Times recently included it in their listing of the 100 best books.  Whitfield’s future research projects will illuminate how enslaved Black women and their experiences tell historians a great deal about slavery in Canada.  He is an active member of the Canadian historical profession and serves on various editorial advisory boards including Acadiensis and the Canadian Historical Review.  He is also a member of the Canadian Historical Association’s Council and sits on the board of directors of Canada’s History.

Professional Description

Harvey Amani Whitfield is a Professor of North American History.  He attended Dalhousie University for his MA and PhD.  Whitfield is the author of several books, including:

  • Biographical Dictionary of Enslaved Black People in the Maritimes
  • Blacks on the Border: The Black Refugees in British North America, 1815-1865,
  • North to Bondage: Loyalist Slavery in the Maritimes,
  • Black Slavery in the Maritimes: A History in Documents. 

Whitfield’s future research projects will illuminate how enslaved Black women and their experiences tell historians a great deal about slavery in Canada.  He is an active member of the Canadian historical profession and serves on various editorial advisory boards including Acadiensis, Labour, and the Canadian Historical Review.

Biographical Dictionary of Enslaved Black People in the Maritimes

This important booksheds light on more than 1,400 brief life histories of mostly enslaved Black people, with the goal of recovering their individual lives.

Harvey Amani Whitfield unearths the stories of men, women, and children who would not otherwise have found their way into written history. The individuals mentioned come from various points of origin, including Africa, the West Indies, the Carolinas, the Chesapeake, and the northern states, showcasing the remarkable range of the Black experience in the Atlantic world. Whitfield makes it clear that these enslaved Black people had likes, dislikes, distinct personality traits, and different levels of physical, spiritual, and intellectual talent. Biographical Dictionary of Enslaved Black People in the Maritimes affirms the notion that they were all unique individuals, despite the efforts of their owners and the wider Atlantic world to dehumanize and erase them. 

“From scattered and obscure records, Harvey Amani Whitfield has brilliantly reconstructed the varied lives of enslaved people in the Maritimes.” 

This important book sheds light on more than 1,400 brief life histories of mostly enslaved Black people, with the goal of recovering their individual lives. Harvey Amani Whitfield unearths the stories of men, women, and children who would not otherwise have found their way into written history. The individuals mentioned come from various points of origin, including Africa, the West Indies, the Carolinas, the Chesapeake, and the northern states, showcasing the remarkable range of the Black experience in the Atlantic world. Whitfield makes it clear that these enslaved Black people had likes, dislikes, distinct personality traits, and different levels of physical, spiritual, and intellectual talent. Biographical Dictionary of Enslaved Black People in the Maritimes affirms the notion that they were all unique individuals, despite the efforts of their owners and the wider Atlantic world to dehumanize and erase them.

Review

“Whitfield’s work, the result of a deep immersion in the existing record, confronts and transcends the limitations of its disparate sources, using individual entries to collect and interpret biographical information about the lives of 1,465 people enslaved in the Maritimes in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.”

— Nina Reid-Maroney, Huron University College ― H-Net Reviews

“Harvey Amani Whitfield weaves together an incredible array of scattered documentation to make an enormous contribution to breaking the silences and muted tones in Canadian history and historiography about the lives of enslaved people of African descent in the Maritime colonies.”

— Michele A. Johnson, Professor of History, York University

“What a tour de force! With meticulous research, evocative and accessible writing, and deep compassion, Harvey Amani Whitfield has provided all of us with a gift that will grace the shelves of both scholars and interested readers for a generation and more.”

— Karolyn Smardz Frost, Senior Research Fellow, A Black People’s History of Canada, and Governor General’s Award–winning author of I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad 

“Although Canadian slavery is no longer a ‘secret,’ there is no other volume with this extent of detailed evidence. This dictionary offers a lively, intimate, and authoritative portrait of Black enslavement in the Maritimes.”

— James W. St.G. Walker, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Waterloo

“From scattered and obscure records, Harvey Amani Whitfield has brilliantly reconstructed the varied lives of enslaved people in the Maritimes. This impressive work is not only a welcome addition to the study of Atlantic slavery, but also a model of archival research.” 

— T.H. Breen, author of The Will of the People: The Revolutionary Birth of America

Excerpt from introduction: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09V36XYF2/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

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