Saturday, February 25, 2012



There are a number of interesting references in the literature of the times to the part played by Negro refugees in defending the frontier of Canada during the troubles of 1838. The outbreaks in both Upper and Lower Canada in 1837 were followed by a series of petty attacks along the border in which American sympathizers participated. Sandwich, on the Detroit River, was one of the objectives of the attacking parties and there were also threats on the Niagara River frontier. One of the parties of "rebels" had taken possession of Navy Island, in the Niagara River, and a small ship, the Caroline, was used for conveying supplies. A Canadian party under command of Colonel MacNab crossed the river, seized the ship and after setting it afire al- lowed it to drift over the falls. This gave rise to an inter- national issue and was the occasion of much bluster on both sides of the line that happily ended as bluster. All along the border on the American side there were "Hunter's Lodges" 1 organized during 1838 and this movement, joined with the widespread political disaffection, made the times unhappy for the Canadian provinces. Sir Francis Bond Head, who was Governor of Upper Canada when the troubles of 1837 began and whose conduct did not tend materially to quelling the unrest, wrote his ''apologia'' a couple of years later and in it he speaks of the loyalty of the colored people, almost all of whom were refugees from slavery. He says: "When our colored population were informed that American citizens, sympathizing with their sufferings, had taken violent possession of Navy Island, for the double object of liberating them

1 A convention of Hunter 's Lodges of Ohio and Michigan, held at Oleveland, September 16-22, 1838, was attended by seventy delegates. 377

 from the domination of British rule, and of imparting to them the blessings of republican institutions, based upon the principle that all men are born equal, did our colored brethren hail their ap- proach? No, on the contrary, they hastened as volunteers in wagon-loads to the Niagara frontier to beg from me permission that, in the intended attack upon Navy Island, they might be permitted to form the forlorn hope-in short they supplicated that they might be allowed to be foremost to defend the glorious institutions of Great Britain. " 2 Rev. J. W. Loguen, in the narrative of his life, says that he was urgently solicited by the Canadian government to a-ccept the captaincy of a company of black troops who had been enrolled during the troubles. As the affair was then about all over by the joint effort of the Canadian and United States governments, he did not accept the offer but he makes this interesting comment: "The colored population of Canada at that time was small compared to what it now is; nevertheless, it was sufficiently large to attract the attention of the government. They were almost to a man fugitives from the States. They could not, therefore, be pas- sive when the success of the invaders would break the only arm interposed for their security, and destroy the only asylum for African freedom in North America. The promptness with which several companies of blacks were organized and equipped, and the desperate valor they displayed in this brief conflict, are an earnest of what may be expected from the swelling thousands of colored fugitives collecting there, in the event of a war between the two countries." 3 Josiah Henson, founder of the Dawn colony in Upper Canada and famous as the reputed "origi:nal" of Mrs. Stowe's Uncle Tom, says in his narrative that he was captain of the second company of Essex colored volunteers and that he and his men assisted in the defence of Fort Malden (Amherstburg) from Christmas 1837 to May of 1838. He

2 Head, Sir, P. B., A Narrative (London, 1839), page 392. 3Loguen, J. W., The Bev. J. W. Loguen as a Slave and as a Freeman (Syracuse, 1859), pp. 343-345.
Henson and other former African American slaves helped repulse the invaders three times that winter. In one supreme example of bravery and sheer will power, they waded chest-deep through icy January water to attack a rebel schooner that went aground. They swarmed the ship, and captured her provisions, her crew, and her rebel captain—Brigadier General Edward Theller.

says further that he assisted in the capture of the schooner Anne, an affair which took place on January 9, 1838.4 John MacMullen, in his History of Canada, says that among the troops on the border during 1838 "were two hun- dred Indians from Delaware, and a body of colored men, settlers in the western part of the province, the poor hunted fugitive's from American slavery, who had at length found liberty and security under the British flag. " I A rather interesting aftermath of the rebellion is con- tained in an item appearing in the Amherstburg Courier of March 10, 1849, reporting a meeting of Negroes in Sand- wich township to protest against the Rebellion Losses Bill.' Colonel Prince was thanked for his opposition to the measure.7 Eighty years after the rebellion the Negro men of Can- ada were again called upon to fight, this time in another land and in a conflict that was destined to affect every race and every land. The service that was rendered in the Cana- dian army by the colored companies of pioneers will some day receive due recognition at the hands of an historian. In the meantime, it is not forgotten by the people of Canada.

4 An autobiography of the Rev. Josiah Henson, " Uncle Tom," from 1789 to 1881 (London, Ont., 1881), page 177. A sketch of Josiah Henson appeared in THE JOURNAL oF NEGRO HISTORY for January, 1918 (Vol. III, no. 1, pp. 1-21). This is condensed from his autobiography which appeared in several editions. 5 MacMullen, John, History of Canada from its first Discovery to the Present Times (Brockville, Ont., 1868), pp. 459-460. He gives as his authority Radelift 's despatch, " 10th January, 1838. " 6 The Rebellion Losses Bill proposed compensation for those who had sustained losses in Lower Canada (Quebec) during the troubles of 1837. It was fiercely opposed in Upper Canada (Ontario) by the element that regarded the French as " aliens " and " rebels. " When Lord Elgin, the Governor, gave his assent to the bill in 1849 there were riots in Montreal in which the Parliament Buildings were burned. 7 Col. Prince was one of the leaders in the defense of the Canadian frontier along the Detroit River during 1838, afterwards a member of the Canadian Parliament. During the troubles of 1838 he ordered the shooting of four prisoners without the form of a trial. The act was condemned by Lord Brougham and others with great severity and is one dark spot on the records of the Canadian forces during the trying period.

Canadian Negroes and the Rebellion of 1837 (October 1, 1922)
E-Book Link

   Story courtesy of JSTOR

Canadian Black History, Speakers for the Dead

The compelling story of how Black original settlers of Priceville, Ontario were driven off their land and erased from memory  in spite of the fact that they had cleared and domesticated the land. The story comes to a head over the restoration of the cemetery belonging to the original settlers.


The Old Durham Road Pioneer Cemetery near Flesherton was the burial ground for 19th century black settlers.
_____________________________________________________________ - Lieutenant Governor To Visit Grey County 
The dedication is scheduled for 2pm on Sunday, September 20 at the cemetery located at the corner of Grey County Rd. 14 and the Durham Rd.


Unidentified Black Family
Ontario Archives

This documentary reveals some of the hidden history of Black people in Canada. In the 1930s in rural Ontario, a farmer buried the tombstones of a Black cemetery to make way for a potato patch. In the 1980s, descendants of the original settlers, Black and White, came together to restore the cemetery, but there were hidden truths no one wanted to discuss. Deep racial wounds were opened. Scenes of the cemetery excavation, interviews with residents and re-enactments--including one of a baseball game where a broken headstone is used for home plate--add to the film's emotional intensity.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Freedom Music - Unity is Power

Music of the Freedom Movement
(Click headline to listen to program)
The March on Washington
The second of three programs on music as an instrument of social activism, this episode pays particular attention to material in the Folkways collection which documents and reflects the civil rights struggle, especially through the ten year period between 1955 and 1965. The program draws on such Folkways albums as "Voices of the Civil Rights Movement (Black American Freedom Songs, 1960-1966) and an audio-verite recording of the 1963 civil rights march on Washington entitled "We Shall Overcome." Original interviews with Bernice Johnson Reagon of the SNCC Freedom Singers and one-time Black Panther activist Angela Davis blend with archival interviews from Smithsonian Folkways to recapture the spirit of the struggle and to provide contemporary context to its meaning.
Folksingers Roger Johnson (left), and Pete Seeger (right) singing "We Shall Overcome at the Palmer's Crossing Community Center. 1964.

"Civil Rights Workers Singing." Selma, Dallas County, summer 1966.
Odetta sang the soundtrack for the civil rights movement.

Here's a song that everyone knew and sang I don't know how many times.

While looking for photos for this post I came on an interesting site called                                             Civil Rights Movement Veterans                                                                                                           which is where I found most of these images. Be sure to visit it, there are many more photos of the period and a whole bunch of very interesting info on the people involved in The Movement 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The 369th Infantry - AKA The Harlem Hellfighters - World War I

The Harlem Hellfighters

The 369th may have been seconded to the French army, but it was up to the French how they would be used. And their need was for combat troops.
The 369th was in combat longer than any US unit in WW1. They liberated towns. They were the first Allied soldiers to reach the Rhine. They won 171 decorations. Two Harlem Hellfighters were especially honored for fighting off an attack on their tiny outpost by 24 Germans.
And that nickname, the Hellfighters? The Germans gave them that.

Photographs of the 369th Infantry and African Americans during World War I

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Africa - The Elders Speak

Some of The Elders appointed by Nelson Mandela were interviewed during The World Cup.

  • What is The Elders?Toggle Content

    See video
    Chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Elders is an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights. They were brought together in 2007 by Nelson Mandela, who is not an active member of the group but remains an Honorary Elder. The Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is also an Honorary Elder.

Swann Galleries African-American Fine Art Auction Part 1

iMiXWHATiLiKE - Mixtapes for the Masses

Those of you that are interested in the activist arena of the Hip Hop Nation I have to point you to Voxunion. You can expect to find;

Emancipatory (Mixtape) Journalism

Dynamic interviews, stimulating music and much more is what you can expect here.

Did I mention Hip Hop like it was meant to be. The voice of our people.


Above you see a review from a couple of years ago the site has changed.

Still dynamic and stimulating Voxunion has been evolving over the years. The information above is from
January 2008 so it's time for an update. Prof. Jared ball has not been gathering any moss. One very interesting development is his affiliation with journalist Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report. This is, in my opinion, a propitious union if there ever was one. I hope to see more from these two protagonists of African American media. ----------  Keep up the good work my brothers.

D.J.  Professor Jared Ball

As for the Voxunion site they have brought it up to standards that reflect the evolution of the tools available on (web 2.0) as well as offering more in depth content, news, opinions and inspirational ideas for those of us who wish to avail ourselves of this media. 
This has since become I Mix What I Like
Listen Here since the following video is gone.

Check it out for yourself.   iMiXWHATiLiKE

Paul Laurence Dunbar's - Ode to Ethiopia

Ode to Ethiopia

O MOTHER Race! to thee I bring
This pledge of faith unwavering,
This tribute to thy glory.
I know the pangs which thou didst feel,
When Slavery crushed thee with its heel,
With thy dear blood all gory.
Sad days were those--ah, sad indeed!
But through the land the fruitful seed
Of better times was growing.
The plant of freedom upward sprung,
And spread its leaves so fresh and young--
Its blossoms now are blowing.
On every hand in this fair land,
Proud Ethiope's swarthy children stand
Beside their fairer neighbor;
The forests flee before their stroke,
Their hammers ring, their forges smoke,--
They stir in honest labour.
They tread the fields where honour calls;
Their voices sound through senate halls
In majesty and power.
To right they cling; the hymns they sing
Up to the skies in beauty ring,
And bolder grow each hour.
Be proud, my Race, in mind and soul;
Thy name is writ on Glory's scroll
In characters of fire.
High 'mid the clouds of Fame's bright sky
Thy banner's blazoned folds now fly,
And truth shall lift them higher.
Thou hast the right to noble pride,
Whose spotless robes were purified
By blood's severe baptism.
Upon thy brow the cross was laid,
And labour's painful sweat-beads made
A consecrating chrism.
No other race, or white or black,
When bound as thou wert, to the rack,
So seldom stooped to grieving;
No other race, when free again,
Forgot the past and proved them men
So noble in forgiving.
Go on and up! Our souls and eyes
Shall follow thy continuous rise;
Our ears shall list thy story
From bards who from thy root shall spring,
And proudly tune their lyres to sing
Of Ethiopia's glory.