Interactive website recognizes contributions of Black Canadians
GUELPH -- An associate professor at the University of Guelph has created a website recognizing the contributions of Black Canadians.
Black heritage has a rich and deep history in Canada, including contributions made in Guelph and Wellington County.
Dr. Jade Ferguson, an associate professor at the University of Guelph, has dedicated much of her work over the past decade to getting to know the Black community that laid its roots down in the 1800s.
“These stories are amazing, they’re inspiring and they speak to all that we need to do in terms of celebrating black achievement in Canada,” said Ferguson.
In collaboration with the Guelph Black Heritage Society, Dr. Ferguson has created a research hub called Black Past in Guelph to highlight Guelph's Black community, past and present.
“What’s most important during this time is not only representation but education. And representation just means so much to that little black girl or that grown black woman who is really just trying to find herself,” said Kween, the executive director of the Guelph Black Heritage Society.
“It's incredibly meaningful to know that Blackness exists here. Or even when people think of Guelph, the City of Guelph, they don't think of it as a city where Black culture is poppin'. So I think, it's very important to me,” said Laila El Mugammar a young Black student at University of Guelph.
And after a year that saw the Black Lives Matter movement reignited, the Waterloo Public Library invited Dr, Ferguson to speak about her work in a virtual event next weekend.
“Her work that she's been doing in a local context about the Black community in Guelph, really speaks to the need for us to revisit the history we've learned and see who’s been left out of how we've told the stories of our own community,” said Kelly Kipfer, the manager of Community Engagement & Children’s Services at the Waterloo Public Library.
The presentation and discussion will be an opportunity to learn about change-makers, big and small.
“Which I think tells a larger story of struggle and strength, resilience, and fortitude in the face of decimation that has extended beyond slavery and segregation and into our current moment,” said Ferguson.
The website includes an interactive map showing Black homes in the early 1900s.
The Guelph Black Heritage Society also has resources aimed at empowering the Black community, both past and present.