Education students outsaide the Amherstburg Freedom Museum.Education students in the Windsor Underground Railroad Initiative course visited the Amherstburg Freedom Museum.

Workshop to explore local history of Underground Railroad

A one-hour drop-in workshop will explore the Underground Railroad and Black history in the context of Windsor and surrounding areas on Thursday, March 2.

Presented by the Windsor Underground Railroad Initiative (WURI), the free public session will focus on why and how to teach about these topics in engaging ways from kindergarten through to Grade 12.

Through interactive information booths, teacher candidates will share a range of resources with attendees to encourage them to bring contemporary issues related to social justice and the local Black community and its history into their teaching and learning.

It’s part of a service-learning course conceptualized by education professor Susan M. Holloway.

“Windsor, Essex County, Amherstburg, Chatham, Buxton and surrounding areas were some of the most important geo-political sites of the Underground Railway,” Dr. Holloway says. “Freedom seekers crossing from the States found their first point of entry into Canada in many instances through the Detroit border areas.”

To provide experiential learning and connect the future educators to community partners, the course featured field trips to the John Freeman Walls Historic Site, Amherstburg Freedom Museum, Buxton Museum, Sandwich First Baptist Church, and the Leddy Library Archives, with plans for a walking tour through the McDougall Street Corridor.

The students also discussed culturally responsive pedagogy, critical race theory, critical literacy, strength-based learning, diaspora, white privilege, being an ally, anti-racist strategies, and other concepts and issues pertinent to education.

“These teacher candidates are about to start out on their own careers and can play an important role in shaping curriculum and community partnerships in the years to come, and to build upon what local school boards are already doing,” says Holloway.

She expresses appreciation for the support of partners in the Faculty of Education, the local community, and the Office of the Vice-President, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion.

The workshop is open to all from 4 to 5 p.m. March 2 in the Leonard and Dorothy Neal Education Building.

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