Black History Month is a time to celebrate and pause as we recognize the many achievements of Black Canadians who through history have done so much to make Canada the diverse place it is today. Every February we mark this month dating 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.
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 the 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. It is important to recognize Chatham-Kent's significant Black historical figures and our role in the underground railroad. Today, three historic sites contribute to the Chatham-Kent Underground Railroad story.
February 2022 - Black History Month in Chatham-Kent
Buxton Museum is Ontario's second largest national historic site, which is home to one of the last standing schoolhouses, an 1852 log cabin, 1853 barn, church, cemetery, Liberty Bell, and museum. Buxton Museum will be open through the month of February for limited tours by appointment only. You can also download the Driftscape app on your mobile device and take virtual tours.
The Black Mecca Museum is run by the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society. The Black Mecca Museum shares the emotional journey of Chatham's Black community from the end of the 18th century to present day. CKBHS will be open through the month of February for limited tours by appointment only.
Podcast: The All-Star Baseball Champs You've Never Heard Of
National Geographic Contributing Writer and award-winning travel journalist Heather Greenwood Davis takes us to Chatham, Ontario to learn about this incredible team's run for the championship. Heather highlights Canada's shockingly little-known Black history, its role in North American civil rights, and the continuous fight to get these men and women the recognition they deserve.
Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site is located on the Sydenham River near Dresden, Ontario. Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site takes its name from Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, which was loosely based on Josiah Henson's life. Henson is a significant historical figure and was an important leader for Canada's growing Black community. While closed to the public at this time, you can take virtual tours.
Other Events and Resources
Let Us March On till Victory is Won: The Struggle for Racial Equity in CK and Ontario is now live! This virtual exhibit traces the courageous story of the National Unity Association's crusade for justice and their determination to end practices of segregation within Chatham-Kent and Ontario, and the ongoing fight for equality in Canada. This in-house exhibit opens to the public on February 2, 2022 and was created in partnership with the following organizations:
- Buxton Museum
- Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site, Ontario Heritage Trust
- Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society & Black Mecca Museum
- Buxton's Next Generation
The original artwork in this exhibition was created by Mariah Alexander.
CKPL is hosting a Virtual Author Talk with Brock Greenhalgh, author of "Hard Road to Victory: The Chatham All-Stars Story".
In the fall of 1934, more than a decade before Jackie Robinson broke baseball's colour barrier, a team of Black athletes blazed a trail for others to follow and earned the opportunity to compete for a major baseball championship. Brock will discuss how the Chatham All-Stars overcame societal hurdles that still persist today.
Join Brock for his Virtual Author Talk on Thursday, February 10 at 9:30 a.m. Brock's presentation is approximately one hour and best suited for children 8 years and older. Adults are also welcome.
Register to attend this virtual author talk at your local CKPL branch or through Ask CKPL:
- By phone – 519-354-2940
- By text – 519-401-7174
- By email – email@example.com