It being Black History Month, I thought I’d make a thread for posting snippets of Black History.
My own snippet:
When I was growing up, I learned a very interesting bit of Black history - from a site that is only a couple of miles from my family’s cottage (a/k/a cabin for Americans ).
The place is located in Oro township, Simcoe County, Ontario (now Oro-Medonte).
As it turns out, some of the first non-aboriginal settlers in Oro township were Black. The settlement was founded by Black freemen granted land for services during the War of 1812 (and later opened to any Blacks). The idea was essentially defensive: it was naturally assumed by the government that free Blacks would provide loyal soldiers to defend the area in the case of an American attack, given that the Americans were a slave society. So land grants were made to Blacks on an equal basis with Whites, an unusually progressive attitude at the time (if a self-interested one).
Later, the very end of the “Underground Railway” for freed slaves was in Oro (“Oro” from “gold” in Spanish - as in the land of gold, gold at the end of the rainbow, etc.). This is where the slaves who were really worried about cross-border slave-hunters fled.
The Black community built a church there that is still standing - the “African Episcopal Church”. It is the oldest log-built African church in north america.
Thing is, Oro is relatively shitty as farmland and naturally very very brutal in winter. After the Civil War, the settlement there gradually died out as most of the Black settlers moved to more clement climes: the last one died in the 1940s. The community (now mostly White) rallied to preserve the Church, though.