Mapping the stories of formerly enslaved Black Londoners focus of new research

February 01, 2023

Stack of books, including Benjamin Drew's book "A North-Side View of Slavery"

Photo by Chris Kindratsky/Western Communications

In 1856, Benjamin Drew, a U.S. abolitionist, travelled to Canada to transcribe the oral stories of formerly enslaved Black refugees. Among them, 16 individuals who originally settled in London, Ont. Their narratives, recorded in Drew’s book, A North-Side View of Slavery, describe their former enslavers, their escapes and how they made it to Canada.

But what of their lives afterwards?

With Drew’s accounts as their starting point, Western researchers Miranda Green-Barteet and Alyssa MacLean are working to trace the paths these self-liberated individuals took after arriving in London. By documenting their journeys through an interactive website hosted by Western Libraries, Green-Barteet and MacLean aim to address a longstanding gap in the history of Black Londoners.

Read the full story by Keri Ferguson on Western News