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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Women's suffrage: An unfinished revolution, Spring 2018

Shifting the narrative, Autumn 2018