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Brantford's Black History

Underground Railroad in Brantford

Many of the members of the early Black community in Brantford were freedom-seekers who arrived to the area using the Underground Railroad. It can be assumed that many of the early Black residents that came to Brantford were formerly enslaved in the southern US prior to their arrival.

The Importance of Sophia Pooley

Sophia Pooley was born into slavery in Fishkill, New York, the daughter of Oliver and Dinah Burthen, also enslaved. When she was seven years old, Sophia was taken to Niagara and sold to Joseph Brant along with her sister.

The Story Of Joseph Brant

Some early Black History in Brantford dates back to 1784, when Joseph Brant brought 30 to 40 enslaved people to the area to work in his fields, as well as at his home in Upper New York State. Many were also brought to Six Nations land, Mohawk Village (East Brantford) and Burlington. 

Why Mohawk Park Matters

In 1903, the anniversary of Emancipation Day was celebrated in Mohawk Park.  It was well attended by residents of Brantford, as well as visitors from Guelph, Woodstock, Hamilton and Toronto.

Greenwood Cemetery & Andrew Lucas

Located at 235 Clarence Street, this cemetery is Brantford’s oldest active cemetery. It is the final resting place for many of Brantford’s first Black residents, including Andrew Lucas.  Mr. Lucas was said to have lived to be 120 years of age, though this cannot be confirmed as he did not know his birthdate.

The Remarkable Blanche Williams

In 1885, Brantford resident Blanche Williams was preparing to attend the University of Toronto for her undergraduate studies as the first Black woman to be admitted to the school and allowed the same privileges as white students.

Hard Work In Action

Black Lives Matter – But Which Ones?

Although the slogan “Black Lives Matter” has been a rallying call for the world to recognize dignity in the Black community and put an end to anti-Black racism, often those further marginalized are left on the sidelines and not defended.

Getting Called Out is an Act of Love

Most conversations that confront discrimination are steeped in a power dynamic - usually an imbalance - between a person in a privileged position and someone who’s not. So while being called out for racism is typically followed by feelings of fear and fragility (usually, though not exclusively, by white folks), it involves another kind of fear that’s shadowed by historical punishment and exhaustion for Black, Indigenous and people of colour. But the willingness to have this conversation is an act of love, and deserves to be received as one, too.

Shifting Into Black Futures

February, as recognized by a handful of Western nations, marks the celebration of Black History Month.

The Importance of Rest for Black Bodies

Alongside those indigenous to Turtle Island (North America), Black folks are the most likely to experience disability and pain. 

THE STORY OF BLANCHE WILLIAMS

A Brantford resident who became Canada's first Black woman to attend university.

TERMS TO DISCUSS, Part 1

Here you'll find important terms with definitions and sources listed. 
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