By Elizabeth Vlossak, Associate Professor of History
On Sunday, Feb. 9th, more than thirty Brock students, staff and faculty members of the Seedling for Change in History Brock Collective (SCH) enjoyed an academic community engagement field trip to the R. Nathaniel Dett Memorial Chapel British Methodist Episcopal Church in Niagara Falls to celebrate Black History and Heritage.
Twenty-eight students enrolled in HIST3P00 (Ideas and Culture Since 1800) and HIST2P09 (Modern Latin America), including international exchange students from Australia, England, India, Mexico and the Islas Canarias in Spain, and students with Colombian, Ecuadorian, Egyptian, and Polish ancestry, attended the annual fundraising event to support the restoration and preservation of the Chapel, built in 1836, and formally recognized as a National Historic Site on the Underground Railroad in 1999. A special service, led by the Reverend Lois Dix, was followed by a luncheon, ‘social hour’ and gospel concert featuring the legendary Big John ‘T Bone’ Little. The group also met local historian, curator, advocate and educator of Black history in Niagara Dr. Wilma Morrison, watched the film Wilma: The Story of a Black Canadian, directed and produced by award-winning filmmaker Ayo Adewumi, and made a significant contribution to the fundraiser.
This was the second of three field trips organized by SCH to celebrate African Heritage Month.
On Feb. 8th students and community partners visited the Underground Railroad Heritage Center in Niagara Falls, New York where they were given a special tour by Salladin Allah, a direct descendant of Josiah Henson.
On Saturday, February 29, students will attend the official opening of ‘Black Military History of Niagara,’ a new permanent exhibit at the Niagara Military Museum, and participate in ‘The Making of the Exhibit’ workshops. They will also attend a special screening of Honour Before Glory, a documentary film written, produced, and directed by Anthony Sherwood, about Canada’s only all-Black battalion, the No. 2 Construction Battalion.
The field trips have been a collaboration with Mexican-born Canadian Salomé Torres and Quebecer Joël Marier, owners of the HI-Niagara Falls Youth Hostel and champions of local Black history since the hostel’s opening in 2015, and The History Lab. They have been generously funded by the Dean’s Discretionary Fund for the Faculty of Humanities.
The SCH field trips are open to all Brock students, students on leave, faculty, staff, friends and family.
For more information please contact the Seedling for Change in History Brock Collective at: firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com.