Black History Month occurs every February and is a time to pause and to celebrate the many achievements of Black Canadians who have done so much to make Canada the diverse place it is today.
Black History Month dates back to 1926, when time was set aside to honour the accomplishments of African Americans and to heighten awareness of Black History in the United States. Celebrations of Black history began in Canada, shortly thereafter, but it wasn't until December of 1995 that the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month in Canada, following a motion introduced by Jean Augustine, the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament.
Once considered a destination for freedom seekers, Chatham-Kent is home to some of the most successful Black settlements in Canadian History. Today, three historic sites contribute to the Chatham-Kent Underground Railroad story and year-round, we recognize Chatham-Kent's significant Black historical figures, the community's role in the Underground Railroad. and celebrate the contributions of Black Canadians.
Buxton National Historic Site & Museum is Ontario's second largest national historic site and is a tribute to the Elgin Settlement, established in 1849 by Rev. William King. The site is home to one of the last standing schoolhouses, as well as an 1852 log cabin, a 1853 barn, a community church and cemetery, the Liberty Bell, and museum. Download the Driftscape app on your mobile device to enhance your tour of the site and surrounding areas. Book your virtual tour here or take a public on-site tour Monday - Friday between 1:00pm and 4:30pm.
Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society and Black Mecca Museum shares the emotional journey of Chatham's Black community that settled along McGregor's Creek at end of the 18th century to present day. CKBHS is dedicated to the discovery, research and preservation of Chatham-Kent's Black history and it's contribution to business, education, medicine, sport as well as literary and cultural arts. A visit includes not only a self-guided tour of the museum, but also a guided walking tour (weather permitting) of a number of significant locations within the community, including BME Freedom Park. During the month of February staff will be doing presentations throughout the community, contact them in advance to plan your visit.