Ontario Heritage Trust recognizes Black History Month with a virtual lecture featuring award-winning author Esi Edugyan and a virtual museums forum on Black history in Chatham-Kent

TORONTO – The Ontario Heritage Trust is recognizing Black History Month with two exciting programs that will help Ontarians learn more about Black history and reconnect with creators, researchers, thinkers and community leaders from Canada’s and Ontario’s Black communities.

Launching in February, the Trust’s annual lecture will return with an exclusive talk from award-winning Canadian author, Esi Edugyan. Also, a Southwestern Ontario Black history museums virtual forum, co-hosted by Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, Buxton National Historic Site and Museum and Chatham-Kent Black Mecca Museum, will bring together a panel of curators, programmers and others for an engaging discussion on successes and exciting projects that will highlight and amplify Black stories.

“The Ontario Heritage Trust continues to expand the narrative of Canada’s and Ontario’s history,” said John Ecker, Chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust. “Esi Edugyan’s novels encourage important discussions about Black history, equality and justice that are relevant today. We are pleased to have the opportunity to share her work through the lecture and to have our outstanding partners at Buxton National Historic Site and Museum and Chatham-Kent Black Mecca Museum join us in a forum to celebrate achievements across Ontario’s Black community.”

Both the virtual lecture and museums forum are part of the Trust’s ongoing efforts to bring diverse perspectives and spark deeper engagement about Canada’s Black history.

All programs will be free and accessible online. Learn more below.

Heritage Matters Live with Esi Edugyan

Since launching in 2017, the Trust’s annual lecture program has welcomed thought-provoking storytellers from across the country to Ontario. Past speakers have been renowned cultural anthropologist Wade Davis and Cree artist Kent Monkman.

This year, Esi Edugyan will speak about her internationally acclaimed novel Washington Black – touching on themes of Black heritage, identity, belonging and displacement. Edugyan writes richly imagined and impeccably researched historical fiction. In her talk, she will share insights on her writing process and researching history.

The Heritage Matters Live with Esi Edugyan virtual lecture will be pre-recorded and available for a time-limited period on February 18 and February 23 for educators and students, followed by February 23, March 11 and March 16 for the general public.

Registration will be required. For more information and to register, visit

Forum: Beyond the Underground Railroad – Black History in Chatham-Kent

The Forum: Beyond the Underground Railroad – Black History in Chatham-Kent will feature Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, Buxton National Historic Site and Museum and Chatham-Kent Black Mecca Museum in conversation with creators and researchers from across the province. Discussion will help spotlight the museums’ and communities’ successes in bringing Black stories and achievements to the forefront.

Guests include:

  • Dawson Bridger, Manager, Public Education and Community Development, Ontario Heritage Trust
  • Blair Newby, Coordinator, Museums Programs, Chatham-Kent Museum
  • Camryn Dudley, Vocalist
  • Brock Greenhalgh, Author
  • Angel Panag, Documentary filmmaker and artist

The forum will be available to watch in February at

Quick facts:

  • Esi Edugyan is the third writer, following M.G. Vassanji and Alice Munro, to win the Scotiabank Giller Prize twice. She won back-to-back with her second novel Half-Blood Blues (2011) and third novel Washington Black (2018).
  • 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.


Patricia Njovu, Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist, Ontario Heritage Trust., 437-248-1439

About the Ontario Heritage Trust

The Ontario Heritage Trust (the Trust) is an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. We conserve, interpret and share Ontario’s heritage. The Trust conserves provincially significant cultural and natural, tangible and intangible heritage, interprets Ontario’s history, celebrate its diversity and educates Ontarians of its importance in our society. The Trust envisions an Ontario where we conserve, value and share the places and landscapes, histories, traditions and stories that embody our heritage, now and for future generations.