Birchtown and the Black Loyalist Experience

From 1775 to the Present

Stephen Davidson

This book describes the experiences of Black Loyalists who took up the British offer of freedom in exchange for their support in the American Revolution. Some fleeing from slavery, the Black Loyalists encountered hardships, racism, and neglect at the hands of the British authorities.
Date Published :
October 2019
Publisher :
Formac Publishing Ltd.
Contributor(s) :
Peter Zwicker
Illustration :
150+ color photographs
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781459505568
Pages : 96
Dimensions : 9 X 8.25 inches
Stock Status : In stock


This book chronicles experiences of African Americans who were part of the influx of Loyalist refugees from the American Revolution. The Black Loyalists were both freed and enslaved Black Americans who had joined the British side. For their loyalty, they were evacuated by the British Navy to Nova Scotia, where they were to receive freedom, land, and provisions. The Black Loyalists landed at a settlement named Birchtown, adjoining the white Loyalist town of Shelburne. On arrival they found virtually no shelter. Many died and others only survived by digging small holes in the ground and fixing logs over top for makeshift huts. Food was extremely scarce.

White Loyalists quickly received their land and provisions. It was years before the Black Loyalists received their land grants, and not everyone got a plot. The lands provided proved to be rocky and hard to cultivate. Ultimately many Black Loyalists chose to leave Nova Scotia to go to Sierra Leone, West Africa, founding a new settlement there. Others remained, and their descendants are found in communities across Nova Scotia and beyond. Through images, artifacts, and text, this book tells the story of Birchtown and its residents as well as the larger story of Black Loyalist history, reflecting the research and exhibits in the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown.

About The Author

STEPHEN DAVIDSON, an educator with over three decades of experience, has taught in Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and the Czech Republic. As a writer, historian, and consultant, Stephen has authored over 600 articles related to the United Empire Loyalists and Loyalist history, and has served as Contributor and Consultant for numerous magazines, genealogical publications and newspapers. He is the author of The Burdens of Loyalty and a contributor to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Stephen lives in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia

PETER ZWICKER is an accredited professional photographer with the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC). He is based in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.