When it comes to the history of this part of Ontario, there are so many incredibly interesting and compelling stories.
There's the Donnelly massacre, the Amherstburg Rebellion, and the Victoria steamboat disaster. But some of the most interesting stories are the ones that don't get told very often. These stories often involve Black Canadians and Black people who came from the U.S. to escape slavery.
There was a time when Ontario was seen as a safe haven for escaped slaves, and a place where their descendants could flourish and be truly free. Laws in Ontario were progressive for the era, and they provided safety.
But, it’s important to recognize that laws are only as good as the people upholding them, and that while Black people escaped slavery by coming to Ontario, that doesn’t necessariliy mean they escaped racism.
And that’s as true now as it was in the 1800’s.
Perhaps that why it's important to have Black History Month, so that these stories get the attention they deserve.
On this episode of the 519 Podcast, we tell one of those stories.
This the story of Josiah Henson, an escaped slave who inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom's Cabin.