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Buxton’s black scholars

The Story

In this third in a 1979 four-part CBC Radio series on Black History in Ontario, Prof. Daniel Hill describes the high level of education in the 19th-century black settlement at Buxton and the professional heights reached by its students, some of whom became doctors, lawyers and even American congressmen.  Hill points out that in spite of Buxton and the Underground Railway, Ontario was "no Shangri-La" for blacks, where discrimination was certainly part of daily life. Hill also addresses the question of racism as it relates to the telling of Canada's history, where the black role is notably absent.

Medium: Radio
Program: Voice of the Pioneer
Broadcast Date: April 15, 1979
Guest: Daniel Hill
Host: Bill McNeil
Duration: 8:52

Did You know?

• The Elgin Settlement (also known as Buxton) was founded near Chatham, Ontario by Presbyterian minister William King in the late 1840s. It was set up as a black community, primarily agricultural, with its own grist mill, saw mill, lumber factory, schools, and church. King valued education and pride of ownership as some of the necessary building blocks of a successful community.

• The rules for living in Buxton were strict. According to the Buxton National Historic Site and Museum website:

• No liquor was allowed on the settlement.

• Land could only be sold to blacks and had to remain in their hands for 10 years.

• Land had to be purchased, not leased.

• Each house had to be built at least 24x18x12 feet (7.3x5.5x3.6 metres) with a porch across the front

• Each house had to be built 33 feet (10.1 metres) from the road, with a picket fence and flower garden in front.




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