FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FUGITIVE SLAVE COUPLE THAT CHANGED HISTORY
Will be commemorated at Garvey’s Celebration
Toronto, August 17 – 18, 2007
In 1985, archaeologists working in a downtown Toronto schoolyard discovered the remains of a house, a barn and a mysterious cellar way. Municipal records revealed that the original owner of the Inglenook Community School property was “Thornton Blackburn, cabman, coloured.” Further research proved that he had been born in Kentucky and that he and his wife, Lucie, were refugees from slavery who came to Toronto in 1834 and started Toronto’s first taxi business.
More than 3,000 schoolchildren and members of the public took part in the summer-long dig, which was sponsored by the Toronto Board of Education and the Ontario Ministry of Culture, in partnership with the Ontario Black History Society. It was the first Underground Railroad site to be excavated in Canada, and received more publicity than any dig in our history.
I’ve Got A Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad - by Karolyn Smardz Frost (2007) tells the fascinating story of Thornton and Lucie Blackburn, fugitive slaves from Kentucky, whose 1833 escape to Canada made history.
The accomplishment of this extraordinary couple will be placed front and center at the 15th Annual Marcus Garvey celebrations, August 17th & 18th in Toronto, Canada. The celebration will be launched on Friday August 17th at the exact site where The Blackburns built their home, and their very successful Taxicab Business – 19 Sackville Street, at Eastern Avenue, from 4pm – 9pm.
Among the dignified guests invited to the launch are: The Mayor of Toronto Mr. David Miller, The Fairness Commissioner Hon Jean Augustine, Author Professor Karolyn Smardz Frost, Dr. Afua Cooper, Educator Ms. Murphy Browne, Ms. Rosemary Sadlier- President of Ontario Black History Society, and The Consul General of Jamaica, Ms. Annie-Marie Button
The celebration continues on Saturday August 18th from Noon to 10pm, at the Pure Spirit Patio, 55 Mills Street – in the Distillery Historic District. At this venue Professor Frost will deliver a spellbinding historic account of the Blackburns daring daylight escape from their slaver, how they were captured two years later, and the occurrences while they were in jail waiting to be returned to their Kentucky owners. She will paint a vivid picture of how Detroit’s Black Community rose up in protest, launching the first racial riot in Detroit history, “the Blackburn Riots of 1833.”
Professor Frost will prove that the Blackburns Story - more than any other single event - confirmed Canada as the safe haven at the end of the Underground Railroad. She will share her experiences as she pieced together clues located in 13 US states as well as Canada in order to recover this “lost tale of the Underground Railroad.”
The 15th Annual Marcus Garvey Celebration will be presented by The African Culture Restoration Association (ACRA) in association with Old Town Toronto Alliance (OTTA). The theme for this year’s celebration is “Healing the effects of Slavery.”
Over 40 performers and speakers will grace the stage with music, songs, reflections, and wisdom. Our featured performers hail from as far as Sierra Leone, Jamaica, and Ghana.
There’ll be FREE ADMISSION to both days Event
Arts & Craft Vendors and Volunteers are invited
For more information contact: Terry Brown at: (416) 783 – 1792,
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.marcusgarvey.net