"African barbarism" and "Anglo-Saxon civilization": The mythic foundations of school segregation and African-Canadian resistance in Canada West

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Title: "African barbarism" and "Anglo-Saxon civilization": The mythic foundations of school segregation and African-Canadian resistance in Canada West
Authors: McLaren, Kristin
Date: 2005
Abstract: The legend of the Underground Railroad and the ideal of Canada as a promised land for African-American fugitive slaves have been pervasive in the Canadian imagination. In the mid-nineteenth century, myths describing British Canada West as a moral exemplar and guarantor of equal rights to all provided a sense of transcendent meaning and orientation to citizens of British and African heritage. British-Canadian school promoters hoped to lay the foundations of an ideal British society in the emerging public school system. The main proponent of this system, Egerton Ryerson, boasted of the merits of a Christian and moral education provided to all Canadians without discrimination. However, African Canadians were largely excluded from public education in Canada West, or forced into segregation, a practice that was against the spirit of egalitarian British laws. British-Canadian mythologies that called for the protection of Anglo-Saxon racial purity allowed for the introduction of this practice of school segregation. In response, many African-Canadian leaders called upon Canadian society to live up to its egalitarian ideals and promoted integration. This work examines dominant discourses that presented the British-Canadian people as a culturally pure group, unchanged by their historical environment, and contrasts these mythologies with African-Canadian mythologies that reflected the culturally diverse nature of Canadian society and emphasized the potential for human transformation in mid-nineteenth century Canada West.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/29237
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-12841
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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