It is important to learn about the history of our area. The good, the bad, and the inspiring. Learning about Black history is important for every single person in Ontario’s Southwest during Black History Month and every other day of the year too. You need to know about the history before you can build a better future.
Black History Museums in Ontario’s Southwest
Ontario’s Southwest was the gateway into Canada for many freedom seekers via the Underground Railroad. As a result, we have many historical landmarks, settlements, and museums with vast resources available to those wanting to learn about Canadian Black History.
Learn about the underground railway in Chatham-Kent and the history of the Black community of Buxton at Buxton National Historic Site and Museum. Visit Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society and Black Mecca Museum and learn more the thriving business, education, medicine, sport and literary and cultural arts of the black settlement in the area and the Chatham Coloured All-Stars baseball team. Take a trip to Uncle Tom’s Cabin and hear the true story of Josiah Henson.
In Essex County, the Amherstburg Freedom Museum tells the tells the local story of African-Canadians’ history and contributions. The John Freeman Walls Historic Site and Underground Railroad Museum meet descendants of the Underground Railroad as you take an interactive trip back in time.
Each of these locations require pre-booking so be sure to contact ahead of time.
Learn Virtually from Anywhere
- Doors Open Ontario is a free online resource that provides virtual resources and tours of three Chatham-Kent Black heritage sites.
- Buxton National Historic Site and Museum
- Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society and Black Mecca Museum
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin
- Underground Railway Museum in Windsor-Essex is hosting virtual tours for $10. Watching paid tours is highly suggested as it helps them stay open and provide this important information.
Consider donating to any museums with free virtual tours as your donations help them directly preserve and further share this important history.
You should also follow these museums on Facebook. They often post additional information about local Black history and to will keep you in the loop on upcoming events and learning opportunities. Click the links below to be directed to their social media.
- Buxton Museum
- Amherstburg Freedom Museum
- Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society & Black Mecca Museum
- John Freeman Walls Historic Site and Underground Railroad Museum
- Museum London
Take a Trip Through Time
Here are a few road trip routes to Black heritage sites in Ontario’s Southwest:
You can take a drive to visit all the historical plaques with information about Black history across Ontario’s Southwest. Click here for a map that was created using information from Ontario Heritage Trust, Haldimand County, and Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island.
- Historical Plaques in Ontario’s Southwest:
Imagine yourself on a road trip and “Travel along the Freedom Trail” by reading about it. Of course, you can only use your imagination for now, but consider buying gift cards at some of the locations mentioned so that they will be open when it is safe to travel again.
Ontario’s Southwest Experienced by Black Creators
There’s no better way to discover the impact history has had on Black people than by reading and watching first-hand accounts about their experiences. Some content listed below was created prior to COVID-19 and the current safety protocols that may be in place on a visit.
A Trip to Chatham-Kent: A Lesson in Black History my Education is Missing, by Cameron Davis, is an illuminating account of the lessons available to visitors at the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society & Black Mecca Museum, the Buxton National Historic Site & Museum, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site.
Black Foodie Tour in Southwest Ontario, by Eden Hagos, is a VLOG of her experience exploring Windsor and Chatham-Kent. During her trip, she got to try the diverse food scene and take a deep dive into the many ways this area has shaped Canadian Black History.
Pride of Place, by Heather Greenwood Davis, is an article that was published in the Travel + Leisure Magazine about the small-town Black history monuments that Heather visits in Ontario’s Southwest.
To learn more about what you can expect when exploring in Ontario’s Southwest and how businesses are trying to keep you safe and following government guidelines, click here.