historic photo of boys standing in front of schoolA reception Aug. 31 at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum will open an exhibit on Black settlement in Essex County created by history student Karleigh Kochaniec.

Reception to open Black history exhibit

A reception Thursday, Aug. 31, will celebrate the opening of the exhibit “Beyond the Underground Railroad: A History of Black Settlement in Nineteenth Century Amherstburg” at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum.

Created by Masters’ student of history Karleigh Kochaniec (BA 2023), the exhibit focuses on the lives of Black settlers in Essex County in the post-Underground Railroad period and demonstrates their progress, including the building of churches and schools and the establishment of businesses.

Kochaniec served as the inaugural Local Black History Intern, a joint program of the museum and the Department of History supported by a Mitacs Accelerate grant.

Under the supervision of professor Gregg French and Lorene Bridgen-Lennie, the museum’s assistant curator, she conducted research and used the museum’s family history series to map out Black settlement in Essex County.

Thursday’s reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. at 277 King St., Amherstburg. Admission is free but donations to the museum are welcome.

Besides discussion of the exhibit, the event will feature the presentation of two scholarships to students of African descent beginning post-secondary studies in September: the Mac Simpson Award honouring the legacy of Amherstburg Freedom Museum founder Melvin Mac Simpson, and the Maturine-Romain Award given on behalf of Bernice McKenzie in memory of her grandmothers, Evelina Maturine and Lucie Romain.