NL Gazette

Episode 2 of Newfoundland and Labrador Slavery : Who Lived Here?

Take away Keys:

  • The new series looks at links between enslaved blacks in the state.
  • Slavery was common 300-400 years ago. 

Who lived here in the second part of the series? Xaiver Campbell learns about the first known beings of blacks enslaved in the state with the help of several historians.

One of these, though not the first, contains a fascinating story that would not have been known without the discovery of the will of a man who lived in Ferryland in 1791. 

John Benger was a prominent planter and prominent settler who ran the fishing industry, says Barry Gorton, an associate professor of archeology at Memorial University.

 “With his last will, he declares that he wants to release his slaves,” Gaulton said. The names of the enslaved people were Sarah and Sancho, and Sarah had three children, Nancy, Jack, and Stephen, he said.

He believed slavery practices were not only accepted but it was very common in some European settlements in the state. Looking back 300 to 400 years ago. He thinks it was widely accepted in many cases.

Halifax-based black historian, writer, and artist Afua Cooper said some people are having a hard time accepting this fact.

 “People were shocked, no, it didn’t happen here, or even if it happened, slaves were treated well,” she said, so the experience of slaves and their descendants were accepted by the state. Not part of history. 

He didn’t hear her voice. They are not part of the story, “she said.

Dale Jarvis, heir N.L. folklore, says reluctance continues the cycle of omission in local history. “Colored people are barely visible in the historical records of Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said.

 He said the only historical document in which they appeared was a prison record. 

“Looking at colonial records in the early 19th century, populations are often categorized by race. Black or black columns are often blank, completely blank, or of any kind. There are no entries, but in many cases, the census simply did not record them as individuals. ” 

Read More: Slavery in Newfoundland and Labrador Episode 2: Who Lived Here? | CBC News

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