An acclaimed and celebrated poet, Dr. Afua Cooper’s expertise in and contributions to the arts, history, and education were recognized when she was presented in 2005 with the Harry Jerome Award for Professional Excellence. Through her outstanding work and practice as a poet, she helped to centre dub poetry in Canada and beyond, and cofounded the Dub Poets Collective. She has published five books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed Copper Woman and Other Poems. Her poetry has a strong sense of memory, history, place, and spirituality. Further, Afua has published two historical novels, which have garnered Canadian and American awards. Her work in the creative arts has been recognized with the Premier of Ontario Award for Excellence in the Arts, and internationally with the Beacon of Freedom Award (recently awarded for her book My Name is Phillis Wheatley) .
She was named by Essence Magazine as one of the twenty-five women who are shaping the world. Afua holds a Ph.D. in Black Canadian Studies and the African Diaspora from the University of Toronto. Her expertise includes African Canadian culture, Black women’s history, gender, slavery, abolition, and freedom, Black literatures, education, and Black agency and political consciousness. She has conducted research on African-ascended people and their culture across Canada, and internationally in Jamaica, France, the United States, Britain, Senegal, and Ethiopia. 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. Afua has curated and worked on five exhibits including, The Underground Railroad, Next Stop Freedom, Enslaved Africans in Upper Canada, and The Transatlantic Slave Trade. Further, Dr. Cooper served as the co-ordinator and chief knowledge officer of the Ontario Initiative to Commemorate the Bicentenary of the British Slave Trade Abolition, in 2007.
Dr. Afua Cooper is the current James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Studies at Dalhousie University, Halifax.
Enslaved Africans in Upper Canada, Archives of Ontario Website.
Black Communities in British Columbia Exhibit
Exhibit on Black Victorians in Toronto
Interview with CBC’s Don Connolly.
Afua Cooper on Phillis Wheatley with TVO’s Allan Gregg
Afua Cooper at the Dub Poetry Festival.
Black People as Property Lecture, East Preston Baptist Church, Feb. 2012
Afua Cooper papers at Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library at the University of Toronto.
Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, 2008.