Tutorial #2: Topic Two: American Blacks in 19 th
century Ontario: Challenging the stereotypes
Black population of Canada west:
Positive assumptions of Canada where white abolitionists guiding fugitive slaves from
American slave-owners to the freedom of British soil.
Some justification for that belief. Black people did come and set up all black
communities with churches. However it downplays courageous role of African Americans,
including ex slaves like Harriet Tubman.
-Also evidence that many black immigrants were not slaves, but simply freed black men and
women reacting to deterioration in their civil rights.
1861 census indicates historians exaggerate size of black population in general and
overestimate proportion of black population who were fugitives from slavery.
-40,000 blacks is probably most accurate figure argued by some. (Estimates ranging from
15,000 to 75,000)
-from personal conclusions, author draws maybe 22,500 to 23,000 black people (indicating
historians significantly overestimated black population of Canada west in 1860 by 75% or
-No mass migration of blacks out of Canada. This conclusion is often drawn due to
mistakes in assumption of number of blacks living in Canada at the time. (Only a small
amount of blacks emigrated)
Most black people were not ‘fugitive slaves’. Abolitionists often exaggerated the
numbers. Free immigrants, not slaves. (Many born in places like Maryland, Virginia and
Kentucky where many free blacks lived in 1860.) (Robin wink’s claim is thus doubtful)
-1861 manuscript reveals the black population of Canada west was much more widely
dispersed then imagined. Blacks in a total of 312 townships and city wards.
-All black settlements never had large populations (some like oro had only 150 to 200
individuals) established in 1850s.
-only Germans were comparable group to blacks in 19th century in numbers.
-Ontario and northern state historians have drawn extensively on documents from black
churches, schools and organizations and as such gain a specific view dedicated as central
theme, the formation of ‘black community’.
-equality before the law, but still discrimination in Canada. Whites called them ‘nigger’
to their face and worse. Plus most blacks chose to remain in south after civil war.
Ideology and ex-slaves in Buxton and Chatham:
Blacks who arrived in legally non-racist society were generally ex-slaves with some
free-born blacks. Established through Canada west.
Blacks of Buxton and Chatham: areas of economic growth from 1840 to 1860.
-Both were prosperous home for blacks, founded by reverend William king (Who settled his
-When blacks first arrived in Chatham, whites shut them out of local public schools. By
1840, black school was erected.
-Kings endeavors to lay foundations of settlement were opposed by local racist Edward