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Many of the first visible minorities to hold high public offices have been Black, including Michaëlle Jean, Donald Oliver, Stanley G.
Grizzle, Rosemary Brown and Lincoln Alexander, in turn opening the door for other minorities.
Nègre ("Negro") is considered derogatory; Quebec film director Robert Morin faced controversy in 2002 when he chose the title Le Nèg' for a film about anti-Black racism, and more recently in 2015 five placenames containing Nègre (as well as six that contained the English term nigger) were changed after the Commission de toponymie du Québec ruled the terms no longer acceptable for use in geographic names.
One of the more noted aspects of Black Canadian history is that while the majority of African Americans trace their presence in the United States through the history of slavery, the Black presence in Canada is rooted almost entirely in voluntary immigration.
Black Nova Scotians, a more distinct cultural group, of whom some can trace their Canadian ancestry back to the 1700s, use both terms, African Canadian and Black Canadian.
For example, there is an Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs and a Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia.
Despite the various dynamics that may complicate the personal and cultural interrelationships between descendants of the Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia, descendants of former American slaves who viewed Canada as the promise of freedom at the end of the Underground Railroad, and more recent immigrants from the Caribbean or Africa, one common element that unites all of these groups is that they are in Canada because they or their ancestors actively chose of their own free will to settle there.
When she died in 1757, her will and inventory of her possessions showed that she owned expensive clothing imported from France, and like many other women from 18th century west Africa had a fondness for brightly colored dresses.
One of the ongoing controversies in the Black Canadian community revolves around appropriate terminologies.
Many Canadians of Afro-Caribbean origin strongly object to the term African Canadian, as it obscures their own culture and history, and this partially accounts for the term's less prevalent use in Canada, compared to the consensus African American south of the border.
In addition, an estimated ten to thirty thousand fugitive slaves reached freedom in Canada from the Southern United States during the antebellum years, aided by people along the Underground Railroad.
Many Black people of Caribbean origin in Canada reject the term African Canadian as an elision of the uniquely Caribbean aspects of their heritage, Unlike in the United States, where African American has become a widely used term, in Canada controversies associated with distinguishing African or Caribbean heritage have resulted in the term Black Canadian being widely accepted there.
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Preston, in the Halifax area, is the community with the highest percentage of black people, with 69.4 per cent; it was a settlement where the Crown provided land to Black Loyalists after the American Revolution.