English 4U Promised Land Project

     In January 2011, John McGregor Secondary School in Chatham, Ontario was approached by members from the Promised Land Project to become involved in teaching black history through the arts.

    Mrs. Locke's senior English class was reading Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes as their class novel and felt that the project would be an appropriate fit to further students knowledge.

    Under the guidance of Devin Andrews, Community Coordinatior for the PLP,  several speakers were organized to share information with the JMSS English class.  Dr. Nina Reid-Maroney from Huron College in London, spoke to the students about the importance of studying history and interpreting the "truth" through historical documents, while Dr. de B'beri, a professor of Communication specializing in cultural expression and cinema at the University of Ottawa, inspired the students to ask questions and believe in their abilities as researchers. Mrs. Virgina Travis delivered a talk about the historical significance of First Baptist Church in Chatham and also gave insight into the health care system of the past.  Shannon Prince, from the Buxton Museum, brought many artifacts related to slavery to help students visualize the issues Black people faced. Marie Carter from Dresden gave students a fascinating glimpse into the early founders of the town of Dresden.  Students were often stunned to not only discover that slavery existed in Canada, but also the level of racism that has at times been directed towards Blacks in Chatham-Kent.

                What you will find on this website is the collection of projects produced by the senior students at John McGregor.  We hope you will be able to use this information to further your knowledge of Black history in Chatham-Kent.  Perhaps you, as were many of the students, will be pleasantly surprised by the history in your own backyard.


 John McGregor Secondary School ENG4U class 2011
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