Michelle Williams

Assistant Professor and Lead, Dalhousie African Nova Scotian Strategy


Email: michelle.williams@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-2863
Mailing Address: 
Room 322, Weldon Law Building, 6061 University Avenue
PO Box 15000 Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • African Nova Scotian Law
  • Critical Race Theory and Practice
  • Critical Race Feminism
  • Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in Higher Education
  • Human rights
  • Criminal Law


  • BSW (Dalhousie)
  • LLB (Toronto)
  • LLM (New York)

Bar admissions

  • Ontario, 1996


Prof. Michelle Williams B.S.W. (Dal), LL.B. (Tor), LL.M. (NYU) teaches criminal law and African Nova Scotians and the law and has served as an academic researcher on restorative justice. She is a Dalhousie Provost Fellow leading the University’s African Nova Scotian Strategy, and the inaugural chair of Schulich’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She served as Director of the award-winning Indigenous Blacks and Mi’kmaq (IB&M) Initiative (2004-2020) and is a member of the African Nova Scotian Access to Justice Judicial Committee, the Canadian Centre for Legal Innovation in Sexual Assault Response (CCLISAR) Board, and the African Nova Scotian UN Decade for People of African Descent (ANSDPAD) Coalition Executive. In the latter capacity she works with the Coalition’s Justice Strategy Working Group on a range of legal issues including eradicating street checks, the use of ANS Impact of Race and Cultural Assessments (IRCA), and the establishment of an African Nova Scotian Justice Institute.


  • Criminal Law (LAWS 1011/1021)
  • African Nova Scotians and the Law (LAWS 2251)
  • Orientation to the Law: "Critical Race Theory" and African Nova Scotian Legal History (LAWS 1002)

Research interests

Professor Williams' research interests include critical race theory and praxis, critical race feminism, African Nova Scotian Law and African Nova Scotians as a distinct people, and the practice of domestic and global public interest law.

Selected awards & honours

  • Dalhousie Law Alumni Association and Law Students’ Society Award for Excellence in Teaching Law
    Schulich School of Law, 2016
  • Lexpert Zenith Award for Diversity and Inclusion (To the IB&M Initiative)
    Toronto, 2016
  • Canadian Race Relations Foundation Award of Excellence (Education) (To the IB&M Initiative)
    November 2014
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Presented by Senator Donald Oliver
    Halifax, March 2013
  • Women of Excellence Award, Canadian Progress Club Halifax Cornwallis
    November 2012
  • Pathfinder Award, Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL)
    Toronto, October 2011

Selected publications

  • “African Nova Scotian Restorative Justice: A Change Has Gotta Come” (2013) 36 Dal LJ 419-459.
  • Michelle Williams, "The IB&M Initiative: Reflections on 20 Years" (2009) 27:4 Society Record 33.
  • Michelle Williams, "Sisyphus's Ongoing Journey: Anti-Black Racism and the Myth of Racial Equality in Canada" in David Divine, ed, Multiple Lenses: Voices from the Diaspora (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007) 383.  

Service & activity

  • Lead and Provost Fellow, Dalhousie University African Nova Scotian Strategy
  • Chair, Schulich School of Law, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • Board Member, Canadian Centre for Legal Innovation in Sexual Assault Response (CCLISAR)
  • Member, African Nova Scotian Access to Justice Judicial Committee


  • “African Nova Scotian Reparations” keynote speech on reparations at the 40th Anniversary Conference of the Association of Black Social Workers on September 27, 2019;
  • Judicial Conference, “Broadening our Horizons: Understanding African Nova Scotian Access to Justice,” Black Cultural Centre, Cherrybrook, NS  (June 7, 2018) (panel)
  • National Black Canadians Summit, organized by the Michaelle Jean Foundation, Toronto
    “African Nova Scotian Education Concerns” (December 6, 2017) (panel)
  • United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (UNWGEPAD), Halifax
    “Understanding African Nova Scotians as a Distinct People” (October 19, 2016)