Amherstburg Heritage Homecoming

Amherstburg Heritage Homecoming

September
During the period of slavery in America, a secret network of people was established to help slaves escape to freedom. This network became known as the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad used several routes, with one route ending in Amherstburg, Ontario.
In 1793, Upper Canada passed the Anti-slave Law, which ended the importation of slaves into Upper Canada. It also granted freedom to all born after that date when they reached the age of 25. This made Upper Canada a safe place for slaves hoping to escape the tyranny of American slave owners. Amherstburg could easily be reached by crossing the Detroit River, which runs between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, so this became the destination of many escaped slaves.
Amherstburg became a main center in the history and development of the community of black Canadians. Blacks participated in all aspects of business and community life. They were innkeepers, grocers, tobacconists, millers, and shoemakers. The core of the black community was the church. Nazery African Methodist Episcopal Church (now the site of The North American Black Museum) was established in 1848, and the First Baptist Church was established in 1849.
The Amherstburg Heritage Homecoming is an annual multi-family reunion for the families and friends of those whose ancestors found freedom in Amherstburg, and the descendants of those who aided, supported, and welcomed them as citizens and neighbors.
The idea of having a multi-family reunion came up during various family reunions around town. In September 2002, several families got together at the First Baptist Church in Amherstburg to discuss the multi-family reunion idea. During this meeting, the group decided that, if possible, the event should occur on the historic Emancipation Day date.
Within a few months of this first meeting, an Executive Committee was formed, and many more families became involved. Over the next year, many people worked to make the reunion a reality. This was to be an event where the children could share with pride their heritage and a day where they could remember the sacrifices made by their ancestors to implement an important and positive change.
During the Amherstburg Heritage Homecoming weekend, activities include a re-enactment of the slave crossing, a parade, music, religious services, picnics, arts and crafts, and other fair-type festivities.
CONTACTS:
Amherstburg Heritage Homecoming
519-736-2340
www.uwindsor.ca/users/e/ernest/main.nsf