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May. 20, 2022 | Friday
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Lack of events for Black History Month in NOTL
Voices of Freedom Park, opened to celebrate the town's black history, is located on Regent Street in Old Town. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

Every February, Black History Month commemorates important people and events related to black history.

Niagara-on-the-Lake, which used to be the capital of Upper Canada, had black settlers starting in the 1780s.

It was here that the first anti-slavery legislation in the British Empire was introduced. Locals might also know the stories of Chloe Cooley and Solomon Moseby, who played a vital role in shaping black history in Canada.

Amy Klassen, co-odinator of the NOTL Historical Society & Museum, said the museum has no public events planned for Black History Month this year.

Neither does the community centre. The library has one event, Tales By Moonlight Feb. 16 at 11 a.m.

However, Klassen said the museum is working on a black history educational program for schools and is developing a walking app that will complement the Voices of Freedom Park.

The Voices of Freedom Park opened in November 2018 with the goal of recognizing the significance of the town’s black history.

“We have just hired a co-ordinator for this project who is currently reaching out to schools, working on the program and developing resource materials,” said Klassen.

“She’s going to classrooms, doing interactive activities with children and teaching information sessions with teachers.”

The app will be available on July 9, on the anniversary of the Act to Limit Slavery. It was initially supposed to launch this February but was delayed.

“One of the Voices of Freedom committee members went on maternity leave. We were also trying to choose what type of app to use,” said Klassen.

The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake has received $51,200 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and $5,000 from the Niagara Community Foundation to develop the programming and the app.