Resources Relating to Black History at the Archives of Ontario


Montage of Images of Black History


The Archives of Ontario has numerous records relating to Black History in the province. For an introduction to these, explore the online exhibits listed below. There are also educational workshops available to teachers, and a list of a wide variety of resources that are available to researchers.



Online Exhibits


This one-page letter, dated 1854, believed to be from a runaway slave from Kentucky, describes his preference for his new country, Canada West.
Lincoln Alexander was a leading figure in the fight for racial equity in Canada. This small exhibit presents snapshots taken from an interview conducted by Philip Sworden in March 1997.
A joint project of the Archives and the Ontario Black History Society, this exhibit celebrates a community which has played a significant role in Ontario's history.
Enslaved Africans in Upper Canada explores the lives of slaves and focuses on the actions they took to resist their servitude.
This exhibit explores the life of Dan Hill, the first Director of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and community activist with a sustained interest in the history of Blacks in Canada.
Alvin McCurdy lived in Amherstburg, in South-Western Ontario, and collected thousands of documents and photographs relating to black history in the province.

Travelling Exhibits



Enslaved Africans in Upper Canada

Many people do not know that slavery existed in Canada. Produced in partnership with the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Enslaved Africans in Upper Canada, touches on the lives of enslaved Africans, and focuses on the actions they took to resist their servitude.

[PDF] [Online Exhibit]



Selected records pertaining to Black History in the Archives of Ontario


  • Alvin D. McCurdy fond, F 2076

  • Daniel G. Hill fonds, F 2130

  • Narrative of the Life and Sufferings of Rev. Richard Warren, 1856.
    Pamphlet no. 42, 1856

  • The Common Schools Act, Pamphlet no. 24, 1850

  • Correspondence for 1850, letter from S. Wickham to D. B. Stevenson October 12, 1850, F 499 MU 2885

  • The Provincial Freeman, Microfilm Reel N 40

  • Petition of the "People of Colour" of Hamilton to the Governor General protesting the practice of segregated schooling for Black children, October 15, 1843

  • Department of Education Incoming General Correspondence, Correspondence for 1843, RG 2-12

  • Map entitled: "Southwestern Counties of Canada West - showing the principal stations of the free colored population," 1855. Pamphlet no. 41

  • RG 2-42-0-5331   Colchester South Township, S.S. #11. Request for temporary certificate for Miss Elva Dixon. "This is a colored school for which we cannot get white, certificated teachers."

  • RG 2-42-0-580  Colchester S.S. #12 (colored school) - certificates for teachers: Rev. Josephus O. Banyoun (or O'Banyoun); Annie Keyes; Mary Griffin; Mrs. R. J. McCormick

  • RG 2-42-0-5495   Harwich Township, S.S. #9; S.S. #9 1/2 - "people in No. 9 wished to exclude from their school certain colored children." Section 9 1/2 formed, but school closed, leaving children without education

  • RG 2-42-0-5890 Sandwich, Town of. Request for permit for teacher Miss Ella Gooderich for colored school. Also Tilbury West Township, S.S. #2 - request for permit for teacher Mr. Louis Dorais (able to teach English and French)

  • RG 17-20 Archives of Ontario historical research files.  Blacks - Escaped SlavesFonds

  • Mackenzie - Lindsey family fonds, F 37 (selective correspondence)

Commemorating the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the War of 1812



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