Praise for Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present

“Robyn Maynard’s meticulously-researched and compelling analysis of state violence challenges prevailing narratives of Canadian multiculturalism and inclusion by examining how structures of racism and ideologies of gender are complexly anchored in global histories of colonization and slavery. This book should be read not only by those who have a specific interest in Canadian histories and social justice movements but by anyone interested in the abolitionist and revolutionary potential of the Black Lives Matters movement more broadly.

— Angela Y. Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

“Grounded in an impressive and expansive treatment of Black Canadian history, Maynard has written a powerful account of state anti-Black violence in Canada. Empirically rich and theoretically nimble, this work is an outstanding contribution to Black Canadian Studies.”

— Barrington Walker, Queen’s University

“Robyn Maynard not only brilliantly and eloquently shows the multiple ways state violence has targeted, marginalized, and oppressed African-descended men, women, and children in Canada from slavery to the present, she offers powerful lessons for making anti-blackness in Canada legible to activists, scholars, policy makers, and community members committed to building a future nation—and world—free of racism, heteropatriarchy, xenophobia, and exploitation.

— Erik S. McDuffie, author of Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism,  and the Making of Black Left Feminism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2011).

“To understand this moment in Canada when Black communities are asserting that Black Lives really do matter, readers need this book.”

— Sylvia D. Hamilton

“We are all taught that Canada is a racial haven. Literally given permission to believe that racism doesn’t exist in the other America. But, Robyn Maynard’s, ‘Policing Black Lives’ tells us a very different story. One that is hidden and forgotten by a country that prides itself off of being progressive, tolerant, and inclusive. If you ever believed Canada would be the country you fled to Maynard’s work will have you think otherwise. Anti-Black racism is a global phenomenon and we must understand its impact in places outside of the U.S. Context. Thanks, Maynard for opening all of our eyes to a scary history and frightening present for Black Canada.”

— Patrisse Marie Cullors-Khan, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network


“In this eye-opening and timely book, Robyn Maynard deftly and conclusively pulls back the veil on anti-Black racism in Canada, exploding the myth of multiculturalism through an emphatically and apologetically intersectional lens. In compelling and accessible prose, Maynard provides a sweeping overview of Canadian state violence from colonial times to the present, seamlessly articulating the relationship – and distinctions – between settler colonialism and anti-Blackness, and centering Black women, trans and gender nonconforming people within the broader narrative.  Through an analysis squarely situated in the global socioeconomic context, Policing Black Lives explores parallels between state violence in Canada and its neighbor to the South, as well as the unique legal, social and historical forces informing criminalization through segregation, surveillance, “stop and frisk”/carding/street checks, the war on drugs, gang policing, the school to prison pipeline, welfare “fraud” and child welfare enforcement, and the conflation of immigration and criminality. The result is both eye-opening and chilling, firmly pointing to shared fronts of struggle across borders. Policing Black Lives is a critical read for all in Canada and the United States who #SayHerName and assert that #BlackLivesMatter, and essential to movements for Black liberation on Turtle Island.”

— Andrea J. Ritchie, author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color

“A crucial work in chronicling Black experiences in Canada. If you only read one book this year, make it this one. Policing Black Lives is a comprehensive and necessary book for anyone who cares about the past, present and future of Black life in this country. Brilliant work!”

— Black Lives Matter – Toronto