The Blacks in New Brunswick Reprint Edition Now Available
St. Thomas University has worked with local organizers to reprint the book The Blacks in New Brunswick, by the late Dr. William A. Spray, with all proceeds funding bursaries for Black students.
The reprint of the 1972 book, written by the former STU history professor, was the idea of poet, writer, and griot Thandiwe McCarthy. He came across a copy of this book in his mother’s collection while he was trying to learn more about his identity.
“The book was amazing, every page educated me on a history no one had even whispered about in school,” said McCarthy.
“I could not believe that I had so much in common with the Black families that had struggled and endured under the broken promises of the founders of this province. Even more shocking than the information inside this book was my mother telling me that it was out of print and very difficult to find.”
McCarthy hoped there was a way to get the book reprinted so it could be used in schools to fill the gaps on Black history.
“My wish for this book is that it sits inside all the libraries and public schools across the province as a resource for Black students who become curious about the history of their culture in New Brunswick,” McCarthy said.
He teamed up with St. Thomas University and the Black Artists Alliance of New Brunswick to bring this project to life. The reprint includes a forward by McCarthy and a preface by University of Toronto professor Dr. Funké Aladejebi. A cover design was created by Karrie Nash of Karrie’d Away Creations who incorporated photos from the Kendall-Marr Collection courtesy of Carol Marr and Jennifer Dow.
Dr. Aladejebi says the reprint was timely, as international movements like #BlackLivesMatter have made the Canadian public more aware of the lived experiences of Black Canadian communities.
“Perhaps what this republication of Spray’s work best articulates is the desire within New Brunswick to expand our understandings of Black life and to better ensure the preservation of these narratives. Persons of African descent continue to contribute, shape and impact the provinces’ social, political and economic life despite the continued erasure of Black people in mainstream media and historical literature,’ said Aladejebi.
St. Thomas University President and Vice-Chancellor Dawn Russell says it’s exciting to see this significant work republished 50 years later.
“It was an honour to help bring this book to a new generation of students who want to learn more about the history of Blacks in New Brunswick. We thank Thandiwe for approaching us with this project,” she added.
Copies of The Blacks in New Brunswick may be purchased for $15 by contacting email@example.com. All proceeds will fund bursaries for Black students.