Category Archives: Black History

“To Remedy the Damage”: The Montpelier Foundation and American Public History

By Andrew Nurse On May 16, a Montpelier Descendants Committee (MDC) press release announced that “The Montpelier Foundation’s board of directors voted to welcome eleven new members from a list […] advanced by the […] MDC.” The release described the decision as “momentous.” This decision reversed a short-lived but important controversy in American public history. The Montpelier Foundation (TMF) administers… Read more »

Does a Single Building Matter? A Case for the Fugitive Slave Chapel

By Thomas Peace There is a small house in downtown London, Ontario that looks ready for the wrecking ball. If you walk by, it would stand out only for its state of disrepair. A security fence surrounds it. About a year ago, the London and Middlesex Heritage Museum – of which I am currently the Board Chair – received a… Read more »

Black Identity and the Great War: History from the Bottom Up

by Roger P Nason About a dozen years ago, I began researching community identity. I was expanding on questions I asked as an historian and trained archivist who was studying the settlement of St. Andrews, New Brunswick (NB) after the American Revolution. While most tend to focus on military campaigns, political leaders, and elites, I wanted to figure out the… Read more »

Finding History on Wilberforce Street

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In March 2020, education in Ontario was delivered “virtually.” In an effort to learn more about local story and places of significance the author and his daughter decided to learn more about a story related (to the author) in the late 1970s. This paper jointly authored, explores the legacy of “oral” story whether it be passed on through generation or the “physical” story, that of what is left of built heritage and what it can tell us. Interwoven and brought to the forefront, within the two different types of story is the Wilberforce street settlement (Oro Township), a very important part of African Canadian history with contributions to local, provincial and national heritage.

Bringing Black studies to Canadian universities is still an uphill battle

Afua Cooper Since my time as a graduate student to my present appointment as professor at Dalhousie University, I have been involved with championing and developing Black studies in universities and beyond. Previously, within Canadian universities, not many scholars who work in creating knowledge about Black people called it Black studies. For many, “Black studies” was something that happened in… Read more »

Early Black Baseball Teams in Fredericton: A Sign of Community Identity, 1889-1906

by Roger P Nason Black baseball clubs came into being across the Maritimes as early as the 1880s. Professor Colin Howell of Saint Mary’s University took a close look at their formation in his seminal work on sport history, Northern Sandlots: A Social History of Maritime Baseball, published in 1995. The evidence of Black baseball teams forming in Fredericton specifically,… Read more »

The Diggs Family of Willow Grove and Saint John, New Brunswick

by Roger P Nason The earliest mention of the Diggs family is Charlotte Diggs, who is listed as a grantee of lands for Black residents at Loch Lomond in 1836.[1] The 1851 Census cites Samuel and Mary Higgs living in Simonds Parish with their four children: Joseph, George, Charles, and Alexander. Likely, Samuel is Charlotte’s son.[2] Charlotte would have been… Read more »

Eliza Taylor: Belle of Loch Lomond

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by Roger P Nason Canada Post just released a commemorative stamp for the community of Willow Grove, New Brunswick. Located east of the City of Saint John, it forms the core of what was the “African Settlement” set aside by the New Brunswick colonial government for Black refugees fleeing the United States during the War of 1812. For more than… Read more »

A Lost Chapter in the History of Black Baseball in New Brunswick

by Roger P Nason The early history of baseball in New Brunswick’s Black communities has yet to be written. A glimpse into the chapter of that heritage before the First World War is, however, found in the Saint John Daily Telegraph headline of 10 May 1889: “The Colored Club of Fredericton.” In a short column, the newspaper announced that: Mr…. Read more »

Georgina Whetsel: Black Entrepreneur and Innovator

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Roger P. Nason It is just over a century since the death of one of New Brunswick’s pioneering Black women entrepreneurs. For a woman who garnered a reputation for her business savvy in Saint John, across New Brunswick, and in the United States, Georgina (née Mingo) Whetsel Moore’s death in 1919 in Bedford, Nova Scotia (NS) went largely unnoticed.[1] Her… Read more »