Redemption Songs by Jon Tattrie

Redemption Songs won a 2017 The Very Best! Book Award for Non-Fiction.

do Nova Scotia, Black leader Marcus Garvey, and Rastafarian musician Bob Marley have in common? Very little, you might think until Jon Tattrie weaves some literary and historical magic to make it all seamlessly fit together in Redemption Songs (2016, Pottersfield Press), a treatise against racism and the false “colouring” of humans.
It was in 1937 that Marcus Garvey, who was close to death, gave an epic speech in Sydney, Nova Scotia in which he praised the town for “giving the Negro a chance.” However, it was the following passage from Garvey’s speech that was to inspire Bob Marley decades later to write “Redemption Song” the last cut on the last studio album he was to record:

“We are going to emancipate our minds from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.”

Redemption Songs is one of those books that clarify, enlighten and educate at the same time.… Continue reading

Viola Desmond’s Canada by Graham Reynolds

February being Black History Month in Canada, I was determined to read Viola Desmond’s Canada: A History of Blacks and Racial Segregation in the Promised Land by Graham Reynolds (Fernwood Publishing, 2016) before the month was out. Thank goodness February had 29 days this month, for I finished it on the last day.

In 1946, Viola Desmond was wrongfully arrested for sitting in a whites-only section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.… Continue reading