Category Archives: Black History

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 »

Human Rights, Justice and the 1920 Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World

Laura Madokoro In this tumultuous year, a number of important historical concepts have been at the forefront of debates and discussions about public health, social justice and racial equality. The language of rights has been critical to discussions of individual and collective responsibility in the context of the pandemic (as evidenced in the positions adopted by anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers). The… Read more »

Blacked Out History: An Open Letter to Premier Ford

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The letter below was sent to Premier Doug Ford’s office earlier this week by Natasha Henry, President of the Ontario Black History Society, on behalf of the OBHS board. Dear Premier Ford, The Ontario Black History Society is writing to demand the Ministry of Education of Ontario take immediate action to improve and update the current Ontario Social Studies, History,… Read more »

Defund the police

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Tamara Gene Myers Amidst the call to “Defund the police,” it bears thinking about removing police from our schools as well. “Defund the police” has become the rallying cry of anti-Black racism protests following the public murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Relentless police violence has generated heated discussion about how decades of policies intended to “reform”… Read more »