Emancipation Day Celebrations

Saturday, July 27, 2024, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Emancipation Day Celebrations

Join us at the Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History for Emancipation Day — an annual celebration of hope and freedom to commemorate the end of slavery in the British Empire.

Everyone is welcome to this free, fun and educational event featuring music, presenters, children's crafts and food. The day celebrates the cultural and racial diversity of Canadian society, highlighting the fundamental roles of people of African descent in shaping Canadian identity and heritage. It also fosters dialogue to support the full and equal participation of Black individuals and communities.

Lunch will be available for purchase. Seating is available or bring your own lawn chair.

Speakers and performers:

Awakened Voices Narratives (9:35 a.m. and 1 p.m.)

Dedicated to recognizing the contributions and achievement of Ontario’s early Black settlers, this dynamic acting troupe inspires through powerful performances and engaging narratives.

Robert Ball (9:55 a.m. and 1:20 p.m.)

With "a voice that’s smooth as silk," Robert Ball blends soul, neo-soul, jazz and easy listening, crafting heartfelt music that resonates with global audiences.

Blackburn Brothers (10:15 a.m. and 1:40 p.m.)

Get ready to groove with the Blackburn Brothers, a dynamic band of brothers bringing a powerful blend of blues, R&B and soul. With a rich musical heritage and captivating performances, they celebrate history, freedom and family.

YVNG JRIP (10:35 a.m. and 2 p.m.)

Experience the innovative beats and compelling lyrics of YVNG JRIP, a 17-year-old hip-hop artist from Chatham. Despite his youth, YVNG JRIP has already made significant waves in the music industry with his unique sound and dedication to his craft.

Dwayne Morgan (10:45 a.m. and 2:10 p.m.)

A prominent figure in the global spoken word community, Dwayne Morgan — a celebrated, writer, producer, and two-time Canadian National Poetry Slam Champion — delivers his signature, powerful poetry.

Babarinde Williams (11:05 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.)

Experience Drummin’ up Ubuntu with award-winning master drummer Babarinde Williams. This interactive drumming program celebrates our interconnectedness through captivating songs, chants, stories and drumming. Drums are provided for this unforgettable, hands-on experience for all ages.

Chef Patience Chirisa (11:25 a.m.)

Fire up your senses with Chef Patience Chirisa, a culinary expert in pan-African cuisine. Born in Zimbabwe, Chef Chirisa will offer a delectable selection of finger foods, while sharing her passion for blending traditional African ingredients with international flavours.

Remarks and Quilt unveiling (11:45 a.m.)

Join us for the unveiling of our community quilt. During Black History Month 2024, students from the Lambton Kent District School Board contributed meaningful pieces of fabric for a collaborative quilt, stitched together by the local community.

Tickets: Free

Emancipation Day is supported by the RBC Foundation.

About the Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History

The Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History is owned and operated by the Ontario Heritage Trust. This two-hectare (five-acre) complex celebrates the life and work of Reverend Josiah Henson and explores the history of the Underground Railroad in Ontario. The museum provides a space to discuss the legacy of slavery and racism and the enduring pursuit for social justice.


Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History
29251 Freedom Road (formerly Uncle Tom's Road)
Dresden, Ontario