The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Toronto!

Front Cover
Dundurn, Nov 28, 2005 - History - 104 pages

"The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Toronto! stands out as an engaging and highly readable account of the lives of Black people in Toronto in the 1800s. Adrienne Shadd, Afua Cooper and Karolyn Smardz Frost offer many helpful points of entry for readers learning for the first time about Black history in Canada. They also give surprising and detailed information to enrich the understanding of people already passionate about this neglected aspect of our own past."

- Lawrence Hill, Writer

The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Toronto!, a richly illustrated book, examines the urban connection of the clandestine system of secret routes, safe houses and "conductors." Not only does it trace the story of the Underground Railroad itself and how people courageously made the trip north to Canada and freedom, but it also explores what happened to them after they arrived. And it does so using never-before-published information on the African-Canadian community of Toronto. Based entirely on new research carried out for the experiential theatre show "The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Freedom!" at the Royal Ontario Museum, this volume offers new insights into the rich heritage of the Black people who made Toronto their home before the Civil War. It portrays life in the city during the nineteenth century in considerable detail.

This exciting new book will be of interest to readers young and old who want to learn more about this unexplored chapter in Toronto's history.


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A Fugitive Slave Woman
2 Blacks in Early Toronto
3 Underground Railroad to Toronto
4 Social Cultural and Religious Life in Torontos Black Community
5 Life in the City
6 Living on the Outskirts
7 The World of Children
9 Black Torontonians in the Civil War
10 Notable Black Torontonians
11 How Do We Know?
For Further Reading
About the Authors

8 Political Life

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About the author (2005)

Adrienne Shadd is a researcher, writer, curator and editor living in Toronto. She is co-author of "We're Rooted Here and They Can't Pull Us Up": Essays in African Canadian Women's History (University of Toronto Press, 1994) and co-editor of Talking About Identity: Encounters in Culture, Language and Identity (Between the Lines, 2001), with Carl James. Most recently, she has curated exhibitions entitled "...and still I rise" in Hamilton, Ontario, on the experience of African-Canadian workers in the twentieth century, and "Black Mecca: The Story of Chatham's Black Community" in Chatham, Ontario.

Afua Cooper's doctoral dissertation on Henry Bibb is a pioneering work on the life of the 19th-century abolitionist. She teaches African-Canadian history at the University of Toronto and is co-author of "We're Rooted Here and They Can't Pull Us Up": Essays in African Canadian Women's History (University of Toronto Press, 1994). In February 2002, Afua curated "A Glimpse of Black Life in Victorian Toronto: 1850-1860" for the City of Toronto Museum Division. An award-winning poet, her fifth book of poetry, Copper Woman and Other Poems, is being published by Natural Heritage in the spring of 2006. Her most recent book is The Hanging of Angelique: Canada, Slavery and the Burning of Montreal, published by HarperCollins Canada in January 2006.

Karolyn Smardz Frost, historian and archaeologist, is a specialist on the Underground Railroad. A widely published writer on African-Canadian history, public archaeology and multicultural education, she completed her doctorate in the History of Race and Slavery, under the supervision of Dr. James W. St.G. Walker at the University of Waterloo. She directed, until its demise in 1995, the Toronto District School Board's acclaimed Archaeological Resource Centre, the pilot project of which was the excavation of the Thornton and Lucie Blackburn fugitive slave homestead. Her biography of this remarkable couple, I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad, is being published in 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the U.S. and Thomas Allen Publishers in Canada.

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