Recommended reading - Ontario Heritage Trust

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Recommended reading

Here are some titles that may help you in your research into Ontario’s Black history:

Go to School, You’re a Little Black Boy, The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander: A Memoir, by Lincoln Alexander (Dundurn Press)

Early African American Classics, by Anthony Appiah (Penguin Random House Canada)

The Freedom Seeker: The Life and Times of Daniel G. Hill, by the Archives of Ontario (online exhibit)

Bromley: Tireless Fighter for Just Causes, by Bromley Armstrong and Sheldon Taylor (out of print)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or, Life Among the Lowly, by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Penguin Random House Canada)

"We're Rooted Here and They Can't Pull Us Up" – Essays in African Canadian Women's History, by Peggy Bristow (University of Toronto Press)

The Road to Dawn: Josiah Henson and the Story That Sparked the Civil War, by Jared A. Brock (PublicAffairs)

‘Membering, by Austin Clarke (Dundurn Press)

Copper Woman and Other Poems, by Afua Cooper (Dundurn Press)

The Hanging of Angélique, The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal, by Afua Cooper (HarperCollins Canada)

The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Toronto!, by Afua Cooper, Adrienne Shadd and Karolyn Smardz Frost (Dundurn Press)

Season of Rage, by John Cooper (Penguin Random House Canada)

The Refugee – Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada, by Benjamin Drew (Dundurn Press)

The Promised Land: History and Historiography of the Black Experience in Chatham-Kent's Settlements and Beyond, edited by Boulou Ebanda de B’béri, Nina Reid-Maroney and Handel Kashope Wright (University of Toronto Press)

They Call Me George: The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada, by Cecil Foster (Biblioasis)

Emancipation Day: Celebrating Freedom in Canada, by Natasha Henry (Dundurn Press)

The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill (HarperCollins Canada)

The Dream Keeper and Other Poems, by Langston Hughes (Penguin Random House Canada)

A Sporting Chance: Achievements of African-Canadian Athletes, by William Humber (Dundurn Press)

Perspectives of Black Histories in Schools, edited by LaGarrett J. King (Information Age Publishing)

African Canadian Leadership: Continuity, Transition, and Transformation, edited by Tamari Kitossa, Erica S. Lawson and Philip S.S. Howard (University of Toronto Press)

Sharp Flashes of Lightning Come from Black Clouds: The Life of Josiah Henson, by Jamie Ferguson Kuhns (The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission)

Ontario’s African-Canadian Heritage – Collected Writings, by Fred Landon;  editors: Frederick H. Armstrong, Bryan Walls, Karolyn Smardz Frost (Dundurn Press)

Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present, by Robyn Maynard (Fernwood Publishing)

Black Canadians: History, Experience, Social Conditions, Second edition, by Joseph Mensah (Fernwood Publishing)

My Brother’s Keeper: African Canadians and the American Civil War, by Bryan Prince (Dundurn Press)

One More River to Cross, by Bryan Prince (Dundurn Press)

Africa’s Children: A History of Blacks in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, by Sharon Robart-Johnson (Dundurn Press)

The Reverend Jennie Johnson and African Canadian History, 1868-1967, by Nina Reid-Maroney (Boydell & Brewer)

Harriet Tubman: Freedom Seeker, Freedom Leader, by Rosemary Sadlier (Dundurn Press)

The Journey from Tollgate to Parkway: African Canadians in Hamilton, by Adrienne Shadd (Dundurn Press)

Family Secrets: Crossing the Colour Line, by Catherine Slaney, with a foreword by Daniel G. Hill (Dundurn Press)

I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad, by Karolyn Smardz Frost (Dundurn Press)

Steal Away Home, by Karolyn Smardz Frost (HarperCollins Canada)

Underground to Canada, by Barbara Smucker (Penguin Random House Canada)

The Underground Railroad Records, by William Still (Penguin Random House Canada)


The Ontario Heritage Trust’s magazine Heritage Matters also frequently features articles related to Black history in Ontario. Examples include:

Inside Uncle Tom's Cabin, February 2005

  • Inside Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Wayne Kelly (page 2)

Our cultural heritage places, February 2006

  • The birth of Black History Month, by Karolyn Smardz Frost (page 17)

Your history, our heritage, September 2006

  • “I’ll use my freedom well,” by Steven Cook (page 8)

Celebrating 40 years of conservation, February 2007

  • Carving out a place in our history, by Wayne Kelly and Steven Cook (page 14)

From slavery to freedom: Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, August 2007

  • Slavery in Ontario, based on the research and writing of Dr. Afua Cooper and assistant Neeka Morris, Dr. Karolyn Smardz Frost and Adrienne Shadd (page 2)
  • Timeline to freedom (page 4)
  • Featured organizations (page 6)
  • Ontario's Black heritage network (page 7)
  • Researching Ontario's Black heritage (page 11)
  • Chloe Cooley and the limitation of slavery in Ontario, based on the research and writing of Colin McCullogh (page 12)
  • Black heritage in blue and gold (page 14)
  • Black heritage resources (page 16)

Engaging citizens in community conservation, February 2008

  • Ontario's black heritage network, by Steven Cook (page 8)

Celebrating Ontario’s places of worship, September 2009

  • Religious freedom in the promised land, by Steven Cook and Wilma Morrison (page 8)

Celebrating the International Year for People of African Descent, November 2011

  • Celebrating the International Year for People of African Descent, by Dr. Afua Cooper (page 2)
  • The life of the mind in the Promised Land, by Nina Reid-Maroney (page 4)
  • Len Gibson: Ontario dance pioneer, by P. Afua Marcus (page 5)
  • A tribute to Dudley Laws, by Mesfin Aman (page 6)
  • Looking beyond the law, by Tamari Kitossa (page 8)
  • The journey of the Africentric Alternative School, by Thando Hyman (page 8)
  • Recognition, justice and development, by Rosemary Sadlier (page 9)
  • Overcoming historical amnesia: Recognizing people of African descent as pioneers and community builders, by Marie Carter (page 10)
  • The UNESCO Slave Route Project: Itineraries of African-Canadian memory, by Karolyn Smardz Frost (page 12)
  • Wilma Morrison: A life of activism, by Adrienne Shadd (page 13)
  • Changing perspectives on the past, by Sam Wesley (page 14)
  • Black heritage resources (page 16)
  • Insert: Upcoming provincial plaque unveiling – The First Regular Baptist Church, by Jason Clark (page 1)
  • Insert: Breaking ground virtually: Looking through the Henson Family cemetery, by Dena Doroszenko (page 2)

Perspectives on the War of 1812, February 2012

  • Fighting for freedom, by Wayne Kelly (page 6)

My Ontario – A vision over time, February 2017

  • Digging for the Promised Land, by Karolyn Smardz Frost (page 13)
  • The Black history of Ontario inspires me and defines who I am, by Afua Cooper (page 14)
  • Reflections on my hometown, by Adrienne Shadd (page 33)
  • Hopes for the future, by Holly Martelle (page 38)

Intangible heritage, Autumn 2017

  • Poetic expressions, by Nadine Williams (page 32)

Women's suffrage: An unfinished revolution, Spring 2018

  • From Happy Hill to Parliament Hill: An Interview with trailblazer Jean Augustine (page 11)
  • We've always been here: Black women's history of voting rights and politics in Canada, by Natasha Henry (page 29)

Shifting the narrative, Autumn 2018

  • To be dignified, stylish and Black in the 19th century was to defy expectations, by Kendra Campbell (page 8)