If you or your family have never attended any of the Chatham-Kent Events or Site Tours that take place each year in February to celebrate Black History Month you have missed out. Ontario first proclaimed February as Black History Month in 1993 to mark the 200th anniversary of a law banning the importation of slaves into Upper Canada. Since that time, although it has not hadofficial status, people across the province have continued to celebrate the uniqueness, and continuing contributions given by the Black Community. In 2016, the Government officially made a proclamation to recognize February as Black History Month and subsequently introducing legislation to make it an annual event.
In 2016 a well known area couple who have spent their lives involved in promoting Black History in Chatham-Kent. Bryan and Shannon Prince, curators of the Buxton National Historic Site and Museum were presented with the Harriett Tubman Commitment with a Purpose Award by the Ontario Black History Society.
Harriet Tubman was an African American abolitionist during the 1800`s She was born into slavery, one of 9 siblings who were separated and sold to other slave owners. She escaped with her two brothers but was forced to return into slavery when they did. Shortly after, she escaped alone with the help of the Underground Railway and made her way to Philadelphia. She returned many times to Maryland and is responsible for leading 300 others including some relatives to Freedom. She served as a cook, a nurse and a spy for the Union Army during the American Civil War and was the first woman to lead an armed expedition of hundreds of slaves during the Combahee River Raid. Tubman will appear on the $20 US banknote in 2020.
There will also be several events taking place in our Community to celebrate this event. Watch for announcements.Visit the Museum or some of our Great Historical sites. Chatham-Kent is steeped in Black History with its connection to the Underground Railway, Uncle Tom's Cabin
and North Buxton, one of the largest Black Settlements of the 1800's. Chatham-Kent Museums contains a wealth of material and displays and are a wonderful way to revisit the past and remember all that so many gave personally to help others at such a terrible time in our history. Investigate Chatham-Kent's extensive Black History. Take your children and educate them on Chatham-Kent`s Contributions to this dark time in History.