For many Canadians, the history of African-Canadians is limited to the Underground Railroad. It’s a history that some historians are working to expand upon. Boulou Ebanda de B’Béri, professor of Communication and Cultural Studies at the University of Ottawa, and co-editor of “The Promised Land: History and Historiography of the Black Experience in Chatham-Kent’s Settlements and Beyond,” joins The Agenda in the Summer to discuss his efforts to move African-Canadian history out of the margins. Watch Prof. Boulou Ebada de B’béri’s interview with Piya Chattopadhyay here.
PLP FINAL REPORT (Here)
The Promised Land: History and Historiography of the Black Experience in Chatham-Kent’s Settlements and Beyond
Coming this summer University of Toronto Press 2014
With a prologue by Afua Cooper
Eschewing the often romanticized Underground Railroad narratives that portray 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 US and Canada. Essays also reflect on the frequent intermingling of local Black, White, and First Nations people. Using a cultural studies framework to their collective investigations, the authors trace physical and intellectual trajectories of blackness, which 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, especially Canadian history.
A Retrospective on African Canadian History
Fifth General Symposium, 2012
June 14-16, 2012
Speaker: Lawrence Hill
Ticket Price: $16.50 inclusive
As part of the fifth annual Promised Land Symposium “Claiming the Promise: A Retrospective on African Canadian History”, the symposium is offering an evening with award winning and international best-selling Canadian author Lawrence Hill. Among his work including Any Known Blood and Some Great Thing is the critically acclaimed and influential The Book of Negroes.
Lawrence Hill’s talk this evening will touch on various topics from his personal experiences growing up in suburban Toronto and the effect of that experience on his creative work; his experiences writing about and researching “Black History” in this country and; the themes of this year’s Promised Land Symposium.
Also this evening a special award ceremony will take place as representatives of Distinguished Women in International Service recognize the winners of a local youth Black History writing competition. Read the rest of this entry »
The Promised Land Project (PLP) is a multidisciplinary research project that focuses on the study the role and evolution of the early black settlements in the Chatham-Kent area, whose role has been uncelebrated and contributions neglected.
The description of such communities as the “final stop on the underground railroad” points to a historical ideology suggesting that this extraordinary heritage is simply an ending rather than the birthplace of something significant and unique. It is not widely known that when Canada became a country in 1867, the sixth-largest population group was people of African descent. The Canadian national history still terms these citizens as “fugitive slaves” disregarding their efforts towards the fight to end slavery in the United States, on the implementation of civil rights in modern Canada, and on the social, cultural and economic development of this region.The overall objectives of this project are:
- to protect primary historical materials
- to make these materials publicly accessible
- to support new academic research and teaching
- to promote community development in this historic region of Canada
- to use the new knowledge generated by the project to frame current discussions of ethnoracial identity, social justice, migration and Canadian multiculturalism
Fourth General Symposium
Halifax, Nova Scotia, May, 2011
African Canadian History in Southwestern Ontario: Connecting Past and Present
Third General Symposium
University of Windsor, March 5- 7, 2010
A departure from previous years, the 2010 event focused on themes specifically linking African Canadian history in Southern Ontario, with current issues in social justice and women and gender issues in African Canadian history.
Second General Symposium
St. Clair College (Thames Campus) Chatham, March 2009
Visit our flickr to site to see photos of the symposium.
The making of the promised land
First General Symposium, 2007
Friday, December 7 to Sunday, December 9, 2007
The Promised Land Project cordially invited all interested individuals and groups to the 1st annual General Symposium. This event was held in Chatham-Kent, Ontario – heartland of Canada’s Promised Land communities — the weekend of December 7–9, 2007. This symposium highlighted the progress and discoveries made by Promised Land researchers as well as offer speakers, interactive workshops, and panels discussing the overall state of Black history and multiculturalism in Canada.
Chronicle Issue 10 (May 2012)
Chronicle Issue 9 (Jan. 2012)
Chronicle Issue 8 (June 2011)
Chronicle Issue 7 (February 2011)
Chronicle Issue 6 (Sept. 2010)
Chronicle Issue 5 (May 2010)
Chronicle Issue 4 (Jan. 2010)
Chronicle Issue 3 (Oct. 2009)
Chronicle Issue 2 (May 2009)
Chronicle Issue 1 (Jan. 2009)
Revisiting the Promise: Place and Space in African Canadian Communities
The Promised Land Community-University Research Alliance invites community researchers, educators, museum workers, students, artists and academics to submit proposals for presentations at its fourth annual Public Symposium, Revisiting the Promise: Place and Space in African Canadian Communities, to be held May 6-8, 2011 at the Black Cultural Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The symposium will be built around two central themes:
- Multiple perspectives on African Canadian history and community, including comparative perspectives;
- Current social justice issues–including work on coerced or indentured labour, race, multiculturalism, the African diaspora and identity in Canada—and their historical context;
We seek a variety of submissions from a broad range of participants across the community-university alliance, and welcome proposals for discussion panels, research papers, poster presentations, artistic work and performance, or discussion of work-in-progress on collaborative initiatives in the areas of education, social justice and public history. Proposals that fit one of the Promised Land Project’s four areas of concentration (History and Archives; Education-Community Links; Media and Theatric Production; Multicultural Dialogue) are particularly encouraged.
Guidelines for submitting proposals
Please submit a 200-word proposal that describes the theme to be explored in your paper/presentation; the method or approach used to address it; and the format (paper, panel, poster, performance etc.) of your presentation. The proposal should also tell us how your presentation is related to the symposium themes, and identify the general area (History and Archives; Education-Community Links; Media and Theatrical Production; Multicultural Dialogue) to which your work will contribute. Proposals, along with your name, and contact information, should be sent via email by October 8, 2010, to Devin Andrews, Promised Land Project Community Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone 519.436-0119 x351. A decision from the program committee will be made by November 12, 2010. Some contributors to the symposium will be invited to submit papers for publication.