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August 31 , 2007

The Promised Land

History and Historiography of the Black Experience in Chatham-Kent's Settlements and Beyond


Eschewing the often romanticized Underground Railroad narrative that portrays southern Ontario as the welcoming destination of Blacks fleeing from slavery, The Promised Land reveals the Chatham-Kent area as a crucial settlement site for an early Black presence in Canada. The contributors present the everyday lives and professional activities of individuals and families in these communities and highlight early cross-border activism to end slavery in the United States and to promote civil rights in the United States and Canada. Essays also reflect on the frequent intermingling of local Black, White, and First Nations people. Using a cultural studies framework for their collective investigations, the authors trace physical and intellectual trajectories of Blackness that have radiated from southern Ontario to other parts of Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa. The result is a collection that represents the presence and diffusion of Blackness and inventively challenges the grand narrative of history.

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