Josiah Henson Museum’s Emancipation Day celebration slated for July 29

Josiah Henson

The Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History is celebrating Emancipation Day with free admission. The celebration, slated for Saturday, July 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will be a day of educational and family-fun entertainment. The day will be a time to reflect on Black history and to the strength and resilience of Black communities across Ontario.

Emancipation Day commemorates the Abolition of Slavery Act, which became law on August 1, 1834. This act freed more than 800,000 people of African descent throughout the British Empire. Since then, Emancipation Day has been celebrated on or near August 1 each year. It is an important expression of identity for many Black communities and a reminder of the continuing struggle faced by people of African descent toward a more inclusive, equitable society. The day is especially popular in communities where refugees from American slavery settled — most notably Windsor, Toronto, Hamilton, Owen Sound, North Buxton and Dresden.

Since 2005, the Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History has celebrated Emancipation Day by bringing together historians, storytellers, artists and musicians for day-long activities that creatively explore Ontario’s Black heritage.

Josiah Henson
Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History

Performers and speakers include the London Collective Gospel Choir; artist Kwame Delfish; Motown Boys featuring George St. Kitts, Toni Anderson and Kenni Hite; travel writer Ruth Lor Malloy; African cuisine expert Chef Patience Chirisa, and rapper Duane Gibson.

The Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History is owned and operated by the Ontario Heritage Trust. This two-hectare (five-acre) complex celebrates the life and work of Reverend Josiah Henson and explores the history of the Underground Railroad in Ontario. The museum provides a space to discuss the legacy of slavery and racism and the enduring pursuit for social justice. Visit our website to learn more.