Skip to main content

Lord Dalhousie Panel and Report

The Lord Dalhousie Scholarly Panel on Slavery and Race was established to examine the university's history regarding slavery and race and recommend actions Dalhousie could take in response. 

About the panel

Diversity and inclusiveness are values that we aspire to at Dalhousie. While Lord Dalhousie envisioned a college with access for all — a radical view for its time — his documented views on race are of great concern.

The panel was tasked by then Dalhousie president, Dr. Richard Florizone and chair of Senate, Dr. Kevin Hewitt to:

Gather the historical facts regarding Lord Dalhousie’s statements and actions related to slavery and race… then interpret those facts in light of their past and present contexts and recommend actions Dalhousie could take to respond to them.

Panel members

The Lord Dalhousie Scholarly Panel on Slavery and Race was released in September of 2019. The following bios of the panel members reflect their positions at that time.

Professor, History, Sociology, and Social Anthropology; and Gender and Women's Studies, Dalhousie University

Afua Cooper is full professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Dalhousie University. This former James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies holds a PhD in Black Canadian history. A multidisciplinary scholar and artist, her expertise includes African Canadian culture, gender, slavery, abolition, and freedom, Black orature, Dub Poetry, education, and women and gender studies. She has conducted research on Black life and culture across Canada, and internationally. 

Her co-authored publication We’re Rooted Here and They Can’t Pull Us Up: Essays in African Canadian Women’s History won the Joseph Brant prize for the best history book. Her ground-breaking book on Canadian slavery, The Hanging of Angelique: The Untold Story of Slavery in Canada and the Burning of Old Montreal was nominated for the Governor General’s award and was named by CBC as one of Canada’s top 100 books. Angelique engendered a paradigm shift in our conception of and teaching about slavery in Canada. Cooper also received the Harry Jerome Award for Professional excellence and was featured on SSHRC’s website for her work on African Canadian history. An academic leader, she is the founder of the Black Canadian Studies Association, and the Dalhousie Black Faculty and Staff Caucus.

Afua is also an accomplished poet and novelist. She has published five books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed Copper Woman and Other Poems, and two historical novels. Her creative work has been recognized with national and international awards. In Feb. 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recognized Dr. Cooper as one of the women who are changing Canadian society for the better, through her work. In April 2018, Afua was installed as Halifax’s 7th Poet Laureate.

University Research Professor, Dalhousie Medical School

Françoise Baylis is University Research Professor at Dalhousie University. She is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia, as well as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She is the daughter of Gloria Baylis who garnered public attention in 1964 as the defendant in Canada's first employment-related racial discrimination case — Her Majesty the Queen v. Hilton of Canada., Ltd.

Dean of Law, Dalhousie University

Camille Cameron was the dean of  the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University from 2015 to 2023. Prior to joining Dalhousie University, she was the dean of Windsor Law School, and a professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia where she also served terms as associate dean and as director of that law school’s Civil Justice Research Group. Before beginning her academic career, she worked in private practice for 10 years, specializing in civil litigation. Dean Cameron’s research interests focus on class actions, tobacco litigation, litigation funding, access to justice and the administration of civil justice.  

She has published and presented on these and related topics. She has been an advisor on justice and law reform projects in various countries including Vietnam, Laos, Mongolia, China, Thailand, the Maldives, Cambodia, and Indonesia. Dean Cameron has served as the Chair of the Board of Governors of Legal Aid Windsor, the Ontario Law Deans, and the Canadian Council of Law Deans, and as a member of the Board of the Law Commission of Ontario. She is currently a member of the Board of Nova Scotia’s Access to Justice and Law Reform Commission and a member of the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments.

Student representative and researcher, Dalhousie Faculty of Law

Ainsley Francis is Dartmouth native and became Dalhousie alumnus when he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2016. He is currently a student at Dalhousie University's Schulich School of Law.  In addition, to his studies Ainsley is a sergeant with 1st (Halifax-Dartmouth) Field Artillery Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery. In his spare time, he volunteers with the Lake Loon Cherry Brook Education Committee organizing youth summits and facilitating workshop on education & empowerment for African Nova Scotian youth.

Canada Research Chair in the African Diaspora History, Harriet Tubman Institute, York University

Paul E. Lovejoy is Distinguished Research Professor, Department of History, York University, and holds the Canada Research Chair in African Diaspora History. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, director of the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples, and formerly a member of the UNESCO “Slave Route” Project (Section du dialogue interculturel). 

He is editor of the Harriet Tubman Series on the African Diaspora for Africa World Press, and has been awarded an Honorary Degree, Doctor of the University, University of Stirling in 2007, the President’s Research Award of Merit at York University in 2009, the Distinguished Africanist Award by the University of Texas at Austin in 2010, the Life Time Achievement Award in 2011 from the Canadian Association of African Studies, and the Teaching Award from the Faculty of Graduate Studies, York University in 2012.

Independent historian, former Parks Canada historian, Halifax

David W. States is a historian and genealogist specializing in people of African descent in Atlantic Canada. He served as a historian with Parks Canada in Halifax from 1991 to 2009 where he was responsible for research on persons of African descent in the Atlantic Region. In addition to his work as a historian he has maintained a private consultancy in Atlantic Canadian genealogy for the past 30 years. Recently he has completed research on the history of the African Nova Scotian community of Lower Horton, Kings County, Nova Scotia. Originally from Windsor, Nova Scotia, he has lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia for over thirty-nine years. 

Prior to joining Parks Canada, he worked as a research officer at the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (1985-1991), and an ethnic services officer at the Nova Scotia Department of Education (1978-1985).

David graduated with an M.A, in Atlantic Canada Studies from Saint Mary's University, Halifax, in October 2002, after having, in 1973, completed a Sociology with a minor in Anthropology from the same institution. His 2002 M.A. thesis entitled "Presence and Perseverance: Blacks in Hants County, Nova Scotia, I87l-1914," explored the history of the black settlers of the County from the early 18th Century through to 1930.

He is a member of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia and the New England Historic Genealogical Society and has served on the Board of Directors of the Nova Scotia Museum, the Gorsebrook Research Institute, the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia, and the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. He has previously been a member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Washington, D.C. and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Washington, D.C.

David has presented several lectures, written articles, given radio and newspaper interviews to create more awareness regarding the importance of African Canadian history in Atlantic Canada. 

Professor emerita, History, Dalhousie University

Shirley Tillotson, PhD, is professor emerita in the Department of History at Dalhousie and Inglis Professor at the University of King’s College. Her work on the history of twentieth century Canada has been widely recognized for its excellence. She was awarded the Canadian Historical Association’s prizes for Ontario history and for women’s history, and two of her books have been finalists for the Canada Prize in the Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Most recently, she received the 2019 Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research for her book Give and Take: The Citizen-Taxpayer and the Rise of Canadian Democracy. Among her research areas is human rights history. She brought her expertise in the history of taxation to the panel’s exploration of public revenue during Lord Dalhousie’s time in Nova Scotia.

Professor, History, University of Vermont

Harvey Amani Whitfield is a professor of United States and Canadian history.  His books include Blacks on the Border: The Black Refugees in British North America, 1815-1860, The Problem of Slavery in Early Vermont, 1777-1810, North to Bondage: Loyalist Slavery in the Maritimes, and Black Slavery in the Maritimes: A History in Documents.  His current book project is entitled Biographical Sketches of Black Slaves in Atlantic Canada, and documents the lives of 1,300 enslaved people. In his free time, he attends church and spends time with his wife and young daughter.

Former executive director of diversity and inclusiveness, Dalhousie University

Norma Williams recently completed her term as Dalhousie’s first executive director, diversity and inclusiveness and is now employed with the Public Service Commission, Province of Nova Scotia. Norma’s work and volunteer experience has primarily included the exploration of race/racism and all aspects of diversity/inclusion through the lens of her status as an African Nova Scotian. She has initiated or supported programming including the writing of several books/reviews.  

Most recently as an executive member of the Global African Congress (Nova Scotia) participated in guiding the production of R is for Reparations – Young Activists Speaking their Truth, a book by African Nova Scotian youth who address the repercussions of enslavement through the lens of a child.

Research Support 

Chief researcher

Jalana Lewis graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 2013 as valedictorian of her class and currently works as an associate producer with various Canadian film production companies. In 2016, Jalana managed the political campaign of Lindell Smith, the first African Canadian candidate to be elected to Halifax’s Regional Council in 18 years. 

Jalana was the 2016 - 2018 Access to Justice coordinator on a project tasked with addressing barriers faced by Racialized Ontarians at the administrative tribunal level. Currently she is the knowledge lead on the African Nova Scotian Youth Lab, tasked with identifying ways to address disproportionate unemployment rates among Black youth in Nova Scotia.

Research coordinator, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, and the School of Occupational Therapy, Dalhousie University

Kylie Peacock is a research coordinator in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology and the School of Occupational Therapy at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 2017, she graduated with a Master of Arts in History from Dalhousie University and completed her thesis entitled, “To live up to the Character of my Profession”: Jonathan Troup’s Enlightenment and the Politics of Reputation in Eighteenth-Century Dominica. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, and advocating for patient inclusion in health care, research, and governance. She is currently working on her Project Management Certificate from Humber College.

Research Assistant, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie

Wade Pfaff is an MA student in Dalhousie University's Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology. He studies the early days of jazz in the Black communities of eastern Canada.


Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canada Communities, Saint Mary's University

Dr. S. Karly Kehoe is the Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canada Communities. She sits on the editorial boards of both the Scottish Historical Review and the Innes Review and is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. An active member of both the Global Young Academy and the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists (serving on the latter’s executive committee and on the steering committee of RSC Atlantic), 

Karly is also a proud alumna and former co-chair of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland. Karly’s primary research areas are religion, migration, and minority identities in the British Atlantic, but she is also interested in sustainable development and rural change in Nova Scotia and the Scottish Highlands. In addition to co-editing (with Chris Dalglish) the Histories of the Scottish North Atlantic book series with Edinburgh University Press, Karly is an advocate of displaced and at-risk academics.

Director, Transition Year Program, Dalhousie University

Isaac Saney is director of the Transition Year Program at Dalhousie University, the ground-breaking program established in 1970 to redress the educational barriers and injustices that confront African Nova Scotians, the Mi’kmaq Nation, and other First Nations. His teaching and scholarship encompasses Africa, the Caribbean, the U.S. Civil Rights Movement Cuba, and Black Nova Scotian history. 

He holds a PhD in History from the School of Oriental & African Studies, University London, a premiere world centre for the study of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and a JD from Dalhousie's Schulich School of Law. He is the author of the acclaimed book Cuba: A Revolution in Motion (Zed, 2004),  and is currently finishing, Africa's Children Return: Cuba and the Global Black Liberation Struggle (Lexington Books). He is a longtime community activist and participant in the anti-war movement and the anti-racist struggle and is the co-chair and national spokesperson for the Canadian Network on Cuba. His roots lie in the Black Nova Scotian community and the Caribbean.

Panel terms of reference

Diversity and inclusiveness are central values at Dalhousie University. In 1818 when Lord Dalhousie established the university, he envisioned a college with access for all, regardless of class or creed — a radical view for its time.

We also know that, despite Lord Dalhousie's progressive views on higher education, his documented views on race and the African Nova Scotian community are of great concern.

Though slavery was abolished in 1833, we know that it left negative legacies such as social, economic, legal, and educational disadvantage, and anti-Black racism for the province and country's Black populations.

The Lord Dalhousie Panel aims to tackle this complex discussion through scholarly inquiry and community engagement.


The commemoration of Dalhousie’s bicentennial year also informed the Lord Dalhousie Panel. What did it mean to celebrate 200 years of existence in the context of racism, anti-Blackness, and knowledge about the founder's view and actions toward people of African descent?

Universities Studying Slavery (USS)

Dalhousie University has also joined "Universities Studying Slavery" (USS). USS is based out of the University of Virginia and dedicated to organizing multi-institutional collaboration in an effort to facilitate support around research dealing with race and inequality in higher education and in university communities.   

Dalhousie University was the first Canadian University to be a part of the USS.


Dr. Afua Cooper 
Chair, Lord Dalhousie Scholarly Panel on Slavery and Race 

Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology

McCain Building, 6135 University Avenue 
PO Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4R2