Mother Tongue
Home Communities Stories News Contact Us
Mother Tongue
    You are visiting > home > communities > african canadian community

ELIZA PARKER: FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM


16-year-old Toni Parker tells the story of her great great grandmother Eliza Parker. After escaping slavery in Maryland, Eliza settled in the free state of Christiana, Pennsylvania where she met her husband William.

On September 11th, 1851, the young couple were harbouring two more runaway slaves when a slave-owner, accompanied by an armed posse, came to claim the men back. Eliza and her husband refused, and called for help from members of their self defence organisation.

After fighting off the attack, Eliza and William made their way to Canada and set up their home in a free Black community called The Elgin Settlement, which is today located in North Buxton, Ontario, the town where Toni Parker and other descendents still live.

Photo: Toni Parker of North Buxton, Ontario






history
From 1440 to the late 1800s, Blacks from Africa were shipped to the United States to work as slaves. Fifteen million survived the journey - many more died due to disease, exhaustion and abuse as a result of the brutal conditions on the ships.

Slaves were treated with cruelty. By the 1700s, however, a movement of people hoping to abolish slavery began to grow. These “abolitionists” helped to form the "Underground Railway", a network of people and safe houses that helped enslaved Blacks find freedom in Canada and the free states of the north.

With the help of the Underground Railway, Eliza Parker and her husband William found their way to the Elgin Settlement in Buxton, Ontario. It was established in 1849 by a white reverend called William King who wanted to prove that with education, Blacks could be farmers and tradesmen. This soon became a thriving settlement, with up to 2 thousand residents. Hoping to reunite with their families, many Blacks in Canada returned to the United States in 1865 after the end of the American Civil War.

Photo: Toni Parker at the gravestone of her great grandmother Eliza.





visiting
-Labour Day Weekend is the best time to visit North Buxton. Each year the Black community holds a Homecoming celebration and thousands of descendents of the original Black settlers flock to see historic re-enactments, participate in the parade, and celebrate their history.

-Visit the original buildings that the Black newcomers built when they arrived, including a beautifully restored schoolhouse for Black children built in 1861, a church built by freed slaves in 1866 and a train station from 1870.

-The Buxton Museum tells the story of the first settlers to The Elgin Settlement. Get a guided tour from Toni Parker or one of the other guides who work there. Across the street visit the charming gift shop and café which serves traditional Southern-style food, like fried chicken and sweet potato pie.

-Less than an hour's drive away you’ll find the Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site and Museum. Visit the home of Josiah Henson, the man whose story inspired author Harriet Beecher Stowe to write her best-selling novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin". You can also find out more about his life and the conditions that slaves in the United States had to endure.

Photo: Children dress up for re-enactments during the Labour Day Weekend Homecoming Celebrations.


tour

HISTORY OF BUXTON AND THE ELGIN SETTLEMENT
Buxton National Historic Site & Museum
21975 A.D.Shadd Road, North Buxton
Telephone: (519) 352-4799
www.buxtonmuseum.com

HISTORY OF BLACK COMMUNITY IN CHATHAM
Heritage Room at the WISH Centre
177 King Street East
Chatham, Ontario
Telephone: (519) 354 5248
www.mnsi.net/~wishc/heritageroom

STORY OF JOSIAH HENSON
Uncle Tom's Historic Site and Josiah Henson House
29251 Uncle Tom's Road
Dresden, Ontario
Telephone: (519) 683 2978
www.uncletomscabin.org

BLACK HISTORY IN AMHERSTBERG
The North American Black Historical Museum
277 King Street
Amherstburg, Ontario
Telephone: 1-800-713-6336
www.blackhistoricalmuseum.com


broadcast times
SCN
Tue, December 26, 2006 @ 8:30 pm (CST)

channel m
Sun, December 3, 2006 @ 12:00 pm ()
Mon, November 27, 2006 @ 8:30 am ()
Sun, January 15, 2006 @ 9:30 pm (PST)

SCN
Tue, September 27, 2005 @ 10:00 pm (CST)

Canadian Learning Television
Mon, September 12, 2005 @ 9:30 pm (EST)






teacher's notes
After seeing the film, here are some issues to discuss:

Downloads
No material currently available.




credits
PRODUCER, DIRECTOR, WRITER, HOST
Susan Poizner

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Carolyn Wong

MOTION GRAPHICS
Mark Hill

SUPERVISING EDITOR
Calvin Grant

EDITORS
Julie Moureau
Michel LeBrun

LOCATION SOUND
Mike Filippov

PRODUCTION MANAGER
Brenda Kovrig

COMPOSER AND SOUND DESIGNER
Steven Sauve

RESEARCHER
Susan Poizner

RE-RECORDING MIXER
Rob Andres

RECORD MIXING FACILITY
Crunch Recording Group

FASHION COORDINATOR
Stéphane Dosko

WARDROBE PROVIDED BY
OptionElle

HAIR SERVICES
O Sole Salon and Spa

PROGRAM SPONSORED BY
Chatham Kent Tourism
Tourism Ontario

SPECIAL THANKS TO
Comfort Inn, Chatham
The Parker Family
Shannon and Bryan Prince
Ella Forbes PhD
Buxton National Historic Site
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site
The Christiana Historical Society
Moores Memorial Library
The Wish Centre
Andy Thompson
Olivia Ward
Malca and Murray Poizner

PICTURE CREDITS
Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
National Archives, Washington D.C.
National Archives of Canada
NPS Digital Photo Collection
Broadside Collection

Share your family history at
www.mothertongue.ca

Produced in association with
“Canadian Learning Television” and “Book Television” and “SCN”

Produced by ThinkStock Inc.
sponsors
CANADIAN HERITAGE
Telephone: 1-866-811-0055
www.canadianheritage.gc.ca


OPTIONELLE
www.optionelle.com


CHATHAM KENT TOURISM
Telephone: 1-800-561-6125
www.chatham-kent.ca


TOURISM ONTARIO
Telephone: 1-800-ONTARIO
www.ontariotravel.net


O SOLE SALON AND SPA
Telephone: (416) 304-1814
www.osole.com


TV ONTARIO
www.tvo.org


CANADIAN LEARNING TELEVISION
Telephone: +1 (780) 440-7777
www.clt.ca


BOOK TELEVISION
www.booktelevision.com


SCN
Telephone: +1 (306) 787-0490
www.scn.ca







Mother Tongue