GBHS presents book reading and talkback

GUELPH – The Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS) is presenting It Was Dark There All the Time – Sophia Burthen and the Legacy of Slavery in Canada, a book reading and “talkback” with curator and historian Andrew Hunter. 

The event will be held on Sept. 15 at 7pm at the Heritage Hall, 83 Essex Street in Guelph. 

Hunter’s urgent new book contradicts the myth of Canada as a haven from enslavement, connecting its history with the U.S. and Great Britain as benefactors of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. 

As Canadians grapple with the ongoing exposure of the country’s history of racism, colonialism, and genocide, Hunter’s It Was Dark There All the Time: Sophia Burthen and the Legacy of Slavery in Canada scrutinizes Canada’s pre-confederation slave trade, in turn illustrating how systemic discrimination is a formative piece of Canada’s identity.

Part biography of Sophia Burthen, who lived most of her life as an enslaved person in the 19th century, Hunter interweaves Sophia’s life story with a compelling account of how the consequences of enslavement have unfurled over the past 250 years. 

In highlighting this oft-ignored history, Hunter’s narrative calls on the descendants of white settlers to do more to help end systemic racism.

“Hunter’s book is a searing indictment of the historic and ongoing racism experienced by Indigenous and Black Peoples in Canada and the United States,” said Lawrence Hill, bestselling author of The Book of Negroes. 

“To read it is to peer into the kind but unflinching heart of a white ally who is committed to recognizing, contextualizing, and confronting injustice in the Americas.”

Free admission

Doors open at 6:30pm and the event begins at 7pm.

The event is free admission but there is a suggested donation of $10 per person.

To register visit

GBHS is a registered charity. Tax receipts will be issued for donations greater than $25.