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14.1 C
Niagara-on-the-Lake
Monday, September 26, 2022
Exploring Photos with the NOTL Museum: The Negro Burial Ground 1831-1878
Negro Burial Ground
NOTL Museum

This week’s image is not one from our collection. Unfortunately, there are no images of the former Baptist Church nor the cemetery during its existence. The church was established through community support by Rev. John Oakley in 1831.  The congregation was mostly white at the time, however, an increase in the Black community of NOTL saw a change in the congregation to predominantly Black parishioners. By 1849 the church had its own Black minister, Rev. Francis Lacey. In the early 1850s another Baptist church was built in Virgil and many of the white congregation moved there. Unfortunately, at the same time the Black congregation started to decrease, as did the Black population in town, and the church eventually closed in 1878. The “Negro Burial Ground” was recognized for its significance by the Ontario Heritage Trust in 1857. Recently, the trust unveiled a new plaque that refers to the site as the Niagara Baptist Church Burial Ground. Unfortunately, this does not change the cemetery name. Those interested in reading the background paper on the new plaque and the church should visit the heritage trust’s website.

This cemetery is one of many Black history sites in Niagara-on-the-Lake that are recognized through the Voices of Freedom Park digital tour that was created by the NOTL Museum in partnership with the Town of NOTL and historian Natasha Henry. To learn about more Black history locations in town visit the Voices of Freedom Tour website.