PRESTON, N.S. -- On Sunday, Canada marked its first Emancipation Day - a day to recognize the end of slavery in the country nearly two centuries ago.

People in the Preston area of Halifax gathered to reflect on their history and talk about their future, as once again, three African Nova Scotians are running to represent them in the upcoming election.

"It is good that we’re now able to recognize that slavery did exist. In Nova Scotia, in Canada," said Archy Beals, PC candidate.

"The reason why it ended, and it’s not because someone decided they were going to give us a break and it was wrong at the time, it was more they had to, they saw the resiliency," said Colter Simmonds, who is running for the NDP.

"It’s really not a celebration, it’s about acknowledging and for people to really reckon with the idea at some point Black people were inhumane and treated as property," said Liberal candidate Angela Simmonds.

As history was top of mind, so too was their future.

In the upcoming election, the riding of Preston has a full slate of black candidates.

Yvonne Atwell was the last African Nova Scotian to represent the area in 1999.

The riding was one of four added to the map this year to increase representation for Acadian and Black Nova Scotians

NDP's Colter Simmonds is a community advocate, basketball coach and helps people find employment.

"I’m not a politician. I’m a community leader. I’ve lived it, I do it, and that’s what the community needs," said Colter Simmonds. 

Angela Simmonds is a lawyer who previously worked in education. She said she wants to lead with community.

"One thing about me is I don’t like using my voice, and so we know this and so I always say we can use that for the betterment of folks that feel they have not been included or have that voice," said Angela Simmonds.

PC candidate Beals works at the Nova Scotia Community College as a student services advisor. He was the former African Nova Scotian representative on the school board.

"What our community needs is infrastructure, education for our young people so they can get gainful employment. Looking at the land clarification issue because there’s still lots of people in the community that don’t have clear title to their land," said Beals.

Since there’s no incumbent, political analyst Lori Turnbull thinks it’s anyone’s race.

"There’s nobody who has a leg up type of thing. It’s truly an open riding," said Turnbull.