The Ontario Heritage Trust invites all Ontarians to celebrate and recognize the legacy of Black Canadians during Black History Month with Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site.
This year, Black History Month at Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site will delve into stories about the experiences – the good and the bad – of Black Ontarians, past and present. Free programming will include live virtual tours of the museum, a new educational video series exploring the successes of early Black communities in Dresden, and a virtual forum that will deepen the conversation on anti-Black racism.
Learn more about special programming and events at Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site. More information on Black History Month programs below:
Live virtual tour of Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site – Registration required
February 21 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
This 60-minute live virtual tour brings the history of the Underground Railroad to life through artifacts, a walking tour of the historical buildings at Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, activities and incredible storytelling. A brief question-and-answer session will follow each tour. Free tours are available on February 21 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Booking is open through Eventbrite. Please note this popular tour has limited spots.
Discovering Dawn series
Discovering Dawn is a series of short, educational videos about the history of Dresden’s early Black community. The series follows Marie Carter, local historian, and Jackie Bernard, Program Assistant at Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, as they journey throughout the town to visit landmarks associated with the Underground Railroad and British American Institute. Together, they will uncover the stories of the early lives of the African Canadians who were part of the Dawn Settlement – a community near Dresden that served as refuge for many fugitives of American slavery and freedom seekers during the 19th century.
The first video of the series launched on February 2 with more videos to be released each week throughout the month. Watch on YouTube or find the videos on the Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site Videos page.
Beyond the Underground Railroad: Strategies for confronting anti-Black racism
This pre-recorded forum discussion will feature Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, Buxton National Historic Site and Museum and Chatham-Kent Black Mecca Museum in conversation with Candice Fung (Inclusive Diversity Consultant, Lambton Kent District School Board), Rebecca Haskell-Thomas (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator, Municipality of Chatham-Kent), and Irene Moore Davis (President, Essex County Black Historical Research Society). Atia Johnson, a student at McNaughton Avenue Public School in Chatham, will share her original poem entitled Followers.
The video will be available to watch on February 24 on YouTube.
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site is owned and operated by the Ontario Heritage Trust. This two-hectare (five-acre) complex celebrates the life and work of Reverend Josiah Henson, whose autobiography inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
- The Dawn Settlement was a community of free Black people established in 1841 by Josiah Henson and fellow abolitionists. Located near what is now Dresden, it served as refuge for freedom seekers and a place where many came to share or learn skills, labour and resources to help them succeed in their new home.
- Explore the Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site video library for more educational content about the province’s Black heritage and history.
- The third Monday of February will be Heritage Day, marking the start of Heritage Week in Ontario. Find out how communities across the province will celebrate: Visit the Trust’s Heritage Week community events and activities list.