Black Harbour: Slavery and the forgotten histories of Black people in Newfoundland & Labrador


It has been largely assumed that Black people are only recently settlers in Newfoundland and Labrador. In fact, the sordid history of Black slavery within the British colony—and the role of Newfoundland merchant families in promoting the trade in human beings—has been denied, obscured and forgotten.

With contributions from historians, folklorists and other experts, Xaiver Campbell and Heather Barrett discover a Black population was present in early Newfoundland and Labrador, and that some of this history is rooted in the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade.

Part personal commentary, part documentary, Black Harbour is an illuminating, important, and sometimes uncomfortable exploration of Newfoundland and Labrador’s colonial history—and what it means to those who live here today.

Author Bio

Xaiver Campbell

Xaiver Campbell is a Jamaican-born writer who has been living in Newfoundland and Labrador for over a decade. These islands are quite different, but Xaiver feels that living in Jamaica, prepared him for life on the Rock. Minus the snow, sleet and lack of sun – the people are equally warm and friendly. When not writing, doing childcare, baking, playing or watching basketball, Xaiver loves the outdoors and can be found swimming in the ponds all across the Newfoundland in the summer, camping and hiking the East Coast Trail.

His fiction has been published in The Malahat Review, Riddle Fence, and several anthologies. His second play, “One Name” is currently being workshopped by Halifax Theatre for Young People. Xaiver’s non-fiction work concerns the lives of enslaved and freed Black people in early Newfoundland settlements.

Heather Barrett

Heather Barrett was born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, where she still lives with her family. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University in London, Ontario.

Heather is a journalist and storyteller, and an international award winning radio documentary producer.  She is also a long-time producer and host with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, based in St. John’s. When she’s not telling stories, Heather is an avid knitter and an avid runner, but not at the same time.

Black Harbour: Slavery and the Forgotten Histories of Black People in Newfoundland and Labrador, reveals the history of Black slavery in the province, and the role merchant families played in promoting it.

A new book is shedding a light on the history of slavery in the province.

New Book Sheds Light on Province’s History of Slavery

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