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Special events and Programming

2023 Black History Month program and resources

See what’s happening during Black History Month this year:

Flag raising at Chatham City Hall
February 1, 2023 at noon

Representatives from the Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History, Buxton National Historic Site & Museum and the Black Mecca Museum will be at Chatham City Hall (315 King Street West, Chatham) for an annual raising of the Pan-African flag to kick off Black History Month.

In-person general tours at the Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History
February 7-10, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The museum will be open to the public for guided tours at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. from February 7 to 10. Advanced booking is required for groups of 20 people or more by contacting jhm@heritagetrust.on.ca.

FREE virtual tour of the Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History
February 28, 2023, from 2-3:15 p.m. ET

Join a free 75-minute live tour of the Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History to learn the story of Reverend Josiah Henson – abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor – and the history of the Underground Railroad. Your livestream experience will incorporate a tour of the museum and the property. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the tour. Reserve your spot today.

Virtual tours for school groups of the Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History
February through March on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

Designed for educators, this 60-minute live tour of the Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History brings the history of the Underground Railroad to life through artifacts, a walking tour of the historical buildings, interactive activities and incredible storytelling. A brief question-and-answer session will follow each tour. Registration required. Book an educator tour here. UPDATE: Due to overwhelming response, virtual tours for educators during February are sold out. Booking is open for March.

Beyond the Underground Railroad: Exploring the legacy of Mary Ann Shadd Cary
Videos will be available mid-February


2023 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Mary Ann Shadd Cary – a pioneer in publishing, education and law. Cary was the first Black woman newspaper publisher in Canada, established a racially integrated school for Black refugees in Windsor and, in 1883, she became one of the first Black women to complete a law degree in North America. Join the team behind the video series Beyond the Underground Railroad for an informative and educational discussion celebrating Cary’s remarkable life and legacy.

Beyond the Underground Railroad is an annual pre-recorded virtual discussion hosted by the Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History, Buxton National Historic Site & Museum and the Black Mecca Museum. Watch previous videos: Strategies for confronting anti-Black racism (2022) and Black History in Chatham-Kent (2021).

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Photo: Bust of Mary Ann Shadd Cary, by African-Canadian sculptor and painter Artis Lane, located in the B.M.E. Freedom Park in Chatham, Ontario. Image courtesy of Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society.

Join us on social media

Throughout Black History Month, the Trust’s social media channels will feature an array of stories celebrating people and events of significance.


Learn more

Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History video library

Reflect on inspiring stories that speak to the early African-Canadian experience in Ontario through recorded interviews, presentations, pre-recorded virtual tours, performances and more.

Slavery to Freedom

Slavery to Freedom chronicles the perilous path that 19th-century Black people followed to find sanctuary in Ontario.

Heritage Matters: Stories about Black heritage

Enrich your understanding of our past and present with articles about Black heritage and history from across the province. Learn about exceptional individuals such as dance pioneer Len Gibson and the Honourable Jean Augustine or explore the history of Black women’s voting rights.

Provincial plaques: Celebrating Ontario’s Black heritage

Our provincial plaques commemorate important stories related to Ontario’s Black heritage – from War of 1812 soldiers and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman to churches and settlements that have carved out a place in Ontario’s story. Here’s a few to get you started:

Explore more plaques and historical plaque background papers.

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Photo: The “Colored Corps” provincial plaque unveiling (1994)