Ontario Communities to Mark Bicentenary of the Act to Abolish the British Slave Trade

    TORONTO, Aug. 23 /CNW/ - Thirty-three community groups will receive a
total of $261,000 in Roots of Freedom grants to tell the little known story of
slavery and abolition in Ontario. The projects are part of province-wide
efforts to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the passage of legislation in
the British parliament to end the trade in enslaved Africans, Jean Augustine,
Chair of the Ontario Bicentenary Commemorative Committee on the Abolition of
the Slave Trade Act announced today.
    "Enslaved Africans are a part of Canada's early history and their fight
for freedom was a crucial step toward the inclusive society we have built in
Ontario," Dr. Augustine said. "These projects will help to share our
province's history with all Ontarians and help us to learn compelling lessons
from our past."
    The thirty-three projects, ranging from learning resources to film
festivals to public ceremonies, will bring Ontario's history to communities
across the province.
    The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, passed by the British Parliament in
1807, made it illegal for British ships to be involved in the trade and
transportation of slaves.
    The Ontario Bicentenary Commemorative Committee on the Abolition of the
Slave Trade Act was established to advise the government and work with
organizations and communities across the province to celebrate the 200th
anniversary of the act. Its 15 members include representatives from academia,
historical societies, archivists, the arts and the African Canadian community.

    Other government steps to commemorate the anniversary include:
    -   a Bicentenary Exhibit at 880 Bay Street in Toronto with displays and
    -   an interactive three-day conference for 14 to 18 year olds on the
        history of slavery and the abolition movement in Ontario
    -   new interpretive displays at Uncle Tom's Cabin in Dresden
    -   a plaque unveiling to recognize an enslaved woman, Chloe Cooley of
        Niagara, who influenced the creation of the 1793 Act to Limit Slavery
        in Upper Canada
    -   a plaque unveiling to recognize Puce River's former settlement of
        Black slaves from the United States

    Disponible en français



                           ROOTS OF FREEDOM GRANTS

    The Ontario government has awarded Roots of Freedom grants to help 33
community organizations across Ontario mark the 200th anniversary of the act
to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire. The grants were awarded on
the basis of recommendations by the Ontario Bicentenary Commemorative
Committee on the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, chaired by Jean Augustine,
Chair of the Committee.

    The groups receiving grants and their projects are as follows:

    Central Ontario

    -   Black Business and Professional Association (Toronto) - to plan and
        implement a modern batik art program for African Canadian youth from
        low income communities to showcase the history and culture of peoples
        of African descent. ($10,000)

    -   Black Youth Coalition Against Violence (Toronto) - to produce a
        documentary film entitled "Talking Across Generations" on the life
        stories of African Canadian families. ($10,000)

    -   Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton - to organize a two-day
        conference on slavery, the Underground Railroad and Black history in
        Ontario for students, educators and the public. ($10,000)

    -   CANORA, Canadiens d'origine africaine, antillaise et asiatique, (GTA)

    -   research for learning resources to educate francophone youth about
        slavery in Ontario, the abolition of the slave trade, and the
        Underground Railroad. ($9,000)

    -   Caribbean Canadian Literary Expo 2007 (GTA) - literary activities to
        create awareness of the role and impact of the transatlantic slave
        trade. ($5,000)

    -   Centre international de recherches d'experts consultants juridiques
        indépendants (CIRECJI) (Toronto) - a public education project for the
        francophone African Canadian community in Scarborough on the history
        of slavery and the slave trade. ($5,000)

    -   Concerned Citizens and Friends of Sierra Leone (Toronto) - public
        education activities to raise awareness of the historic role of
        Sierra Leone in the transatlantic slave trade. ($9,000)

    -   Ecumenical Network of Women of African Heritage (Toronto) - to host a
        train-the-trainer seminar and a retreat to increase understanding of
        the role of the family in building community and address the legacy
        of the slave trade. ($10,000)

    -   Festival Management Committee (Toronto) - to support video
        presentations of Caribana's celebration of liberation and related
        performances about the history of the slave trade. ($10,000)

    -   IMAGO (Toronto) - to produce a play entitled "The Big Smoke" on the
        history of the First Baptist Church in Toronto, which was founded by
        escaped slaves in 1826. ($9,000)

    -   North York Inter-Community Youth Group (Toronto) - to assist Pan
        Fantasy, a youth steel band, to create an original musical score to
        mark the Bicentenary. ($5,000)

    -   Old Town Toronto (Promotional) Alliance - to organize an event to
        commemorate the Bicentenary, highlighting Toronto heritage leaders
        and sites. ($7,000)

    -   Ontario Black History Society (Toronto) - to develop educational
        resources about key Canadian contributors to the fight against
        slavery. ($12,000)

    -   Ontario Historical Society (Toronto) - to make proceedings of the
        Forging Freedom conference in honour of the abolition of the slave
        trade accessible electronically. ($12,000)

    -   Phoenix Community Works Foundation for Upfront Theatre Foundation
        (Toronto) - to support Sistahfest, an arts/culture project to
        showcase past and present achievements of African Canadian female
        artists and the contributions of African Canadian women in
        Ontario. ($9,000)

    -   Toronto Urban Music Festival Incorporated - to arrange a film
        festival that will screen films on the fight against slavery; the
        exploitation of African people, land and resources; racism; and
        stories of the African experience. ($5,000)

    -   Vaughan African Canadian Association - to organize a public education
        campaign across York Region on the Bicentenary to educate the
        community - especially youth - about the history of slavery and its
        abolition. ($10,000)

    -   Women of Promise (Toronto) - to organize events and activities to
        commemorate the Bicentenary in downtown Toronto. ($5,000)

    Eastern Ontario

    -   Catholic Immigration Centre - Ottawa - to bring adults and youth
        together to explore mentorship and leadership development
        opportunities for Black youth in Ottawa. ($5,000)

    -   Community and Race Relations Committee of Peterborough - to organize
        an event to promote awareness of the history of slavery in Canada and
        Ontario and the contributions of the African Canadian
        community. ($7,000)

    -   Leadership Ottawa - to support participation of members of the Black
        community in a leadership development program. ($5,000)

    -   Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization - to work with the
        Jaku Konbit Academy to engage francophone and anglophone Black youth
        across Ottawa in developing projects on Black Canadian contributions
        to science and technology. ($8,000)

    Northern Ontario

    -   Sudbury Multicultural and Folk Arts Association - to stage a public
        ceremony for Sudbury's African communities to commemorate the
        Bicentenary. ($8,000)

    Western Ontario

    -   Bruce & Grey Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society (Owen Sound)
        - to hold commemorative activities and events on the history of early
        Black settlers and the immigration of escaped slaves to the Grey-
        Bruce area. ($8,000)

    -   First Baptist Church (Chatham) - to host a "Celebration of Freedom"
        concert in conjunction with an event to recognize the church as a
        national historic site, with the goal of educating the Chatham-Kent
        community of the history of Black people in the region. ($5,000)

    -   International Emancipation Festival - Owen Sound - to restore and
        preserve Bethel-Union Pioneer Cemetery, in Clearview Township, which
        is the burial ground of many African-Canadian pioneers who lived in
        the SilverShoe area (Blue Mountain and Georgian Bay). ($10,000)

    -   London Cross Cultural Learner Centre - to bring London community
        organizations together to develop a series of social and educational
        events to commemorate the Bicentenary. ($8,000)

    -   Northstar Cultural Community Centre (Windsor) - to organize a series
        of events to recognize and honour the contributions and significant
        roles that African Canadians have played in Windsor's
        development. ($7,000)

    -   Norval Johnson Heritage Library (Niagara Falls) - to continue the
        cataloguing of the library's Black history resources and develop and
        produce educational kits. ($5,000)

    -   Settlement & Integration Services Organization (SISO) (Hamilton) - to
        support youth engagement/educational activities to enable youth of
        African origin in Canada to connect to their roots and each
        other. ($8,000)

    -   South Norwich Historical Society (Otterville) - to restore the
        African Methodist Episcopal Cemetery and mark the site to recognize
        Black pioneers. ($5,000)

    -   Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women - an oral history project
        to document the role of women in the abolition movement in the
        Windsor area. ($8,000)

    -   Workers Arts & Heritage Centre (Hamilton) - to research and document
        the contributions of historic and contemporary African Canadians from
        the Hamilton area who have led the way in advancing rights and
        freedom. ($12,000)

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Michel Payen-Dumont, Communications, (416)

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