Our Black Heritage: Early Black Settlers of York-Sunbury Counties 1783-Present

Our Black Heritage: Early Black Settlers of York-Sunbury Counties 1783-Present

(Fredericton, NB – July 28, 2022) – In honour of the first Provincial and Municipal Emancipation Day in Fredericton, the Fredericton Region Museum wishes to recognize and honour the many individuals, both past and present, who have made this day a reality in Fredericton.

Since the arrival of Black Loyalists in 1783, there have been settlers of African descent who have contributed greatly to the development of New Brunswick. Working ever so silently, without recognition or applause, families and communities have banded together to contribute in significant ways to the social enfranchisement of themselves and their neighbours

Exactly one year ago, on National Emancipation Day 2021, the Fredericton Region Museum opened a commemorative exhibition entitled Our Black Heritage: Early Black Settlers of York-Sunbury Counties 1783 to Present, which documents the story of Black settlers (past and present) who have struggled against servitude and oppression.

Our Black Heritage exhibit opening August 1 2021. Left to right: Thandwe McCarthy (NB Black Artists Alliance), Jennifer Dow (Fredericton Region Museum) and Skip Talbot (NB Black History Society). Image credit: Sixto Hernandez (FRM).

On that opening day, August 1, 2021, we were honoured to have in our presence the then-president of the New Brunswick Black History Society, Mr. James “Skip” Talbot, who passed away on April 13, 2022. On August 1, 2022, we will be thinking of him and his family—and the many contributions he has made to emancipation in this province.

On August 1 2022, as part of Emancipation Day celebrations hosted in the downtown by REACH in New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Black Artists Alliance, and the New Brunswick African Association, we invite you to stop by the museum. Those participating in the Emancipation Day Memorial Walk from City Hall will enjoy free admission to the museum.

Through artefacts, archival documents, individual and family stories, extracts from oral histories, newspaper accounts, and photographs, we invite you to explore the historical roots of racism and oppression in Canada; learn about the ways in which individuals have responded with determination and perseverance.

Listen to Nancy (who lived in Nashwaaksis) as she recounts her challenge of enslavement to Caleb Jones in 1800; witness how Fredericton’s Nathaniel Lad defied government oppression by walking to Halifax in December 1799 so he could join the Sierra Leone expedition. It has been a long journey of mixed feelings and emotions. These are their stories—stories of hope denied and hope restored.

Also featured in the museum (just for this summer) is a display commemorating the life of New Brunswick’s Abraham Beverly Walker, a pioneering civil rights leader who is the first Canadian-born Black lawyer and first graduate of what is now the UNB Law School. This display has been generously loaned to us by the New Brunswick Black History Society museum and PRUDE.

The museum is now operating on summer hours: Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Sundays 12 noon to 5pm.

For more information, please contact:
Melynda Jarratt, Executive Director
Fredericton Region Museum www.frederictonregionmuseum.com
Email: frederictonregionmuseum@gmail.com or phone 506-455-6041