they would tie the slaves up to actually lash them and that’s from Amherstburg.”
Fader said it may come as a surprise that there was also slavery in the town.
Slavery was abolished in Canada in 1833, decades before it was abolished in the U.S., so “that’s really the period, the ’30s through the ’60s, that we were the stop on the Underground Railroad,” she said.
The church, which sits next to the museum, was built by former slaves and free blacks in 1848. In 1999, the church was designated a National Historic Site of Canada. It was the first black historical site in Canada, said Fader.
Attached to the museum is also a log cabin, which Fader said has been on the site since about 1855.
“That’s a historic home, so it was lived in by a number of people through the years including George Taylor, who was an escaped slave and he fought in the Civil War,” she said.
“The descendants (of the free slaves) actually donated most of the artifacts that are on display in the log cabin, so it’s really set up to look like the home of an escaped slave living in Amherstburg,” she added.
Fader said people are usually very moved when they visit the museum complex because they weren’t aware of the history.
“This isn’t something we all learned a lot about in school, which is surprising since it has such a strong connection locally, so people are often shocked,” she said.
“They say, ’I didn’t know there was slavery in Canada.’ That’s what I get a lot. People sometimes have a very strong emotional reaction. They actually need to take a step back. They find it a bit overwhelming and generally people find it very interesting.”