Niagara Parks hosts three-speaker series on local Black history

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Published January 12, 2023 at 1:37 pm

Lezlie Harper runs an accomplished Black history educational group tours professional based in Niagara. (Photo: groupstoday.com)

The last Sunday of the next three months will see Niagara Parks host a three-part speaker series exploring perspectives on Black history and culture in Canada.

Each of the three sessions will be delivered by prominent historians, community leaders and commentators inside the Queenston Chapel at the Laura Secord Homestead in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

It will kick off on January 29 with Lezlie Harper, who runs an accomplished Black history educational group tours professional based in Niagara. Back in March 2004, Harper, a fifth-plus-generation Black Canadian, created Niagara Bound Tours, one of few Black history tours available anywhere.

After her will be the decorated award-winning multi-media activist, Saladin Allah on February 26. The Niagara Falls, New York resident is the third-great grandson of famed underground railroad freedom seeker Rev. Josiah Henson, whom Harriet Beecher Stowe used as the primary narrative for her famous 19th century novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Closing off the series on March 26 will be the creator of the current National Network to Freedom Initiative, Kevin Cottrell, who uses tourism to educate clients on the history of the Underground Railroad, the network that shuttled Freedom Seekers to freedom, stretched from the American South up to the Canadian border.

The names of each of the three presentations will be:

  • January 29: Lezlie Harper, Celebrating Black History in Niagara
  • February 26: Saladin Allah, Present-Day Freedom Seekers and The Power of our Stories
  • March 26: Kevin Cottrell, Interpreting The Underground Railroad in the age of Heritage Tourism and the built environment in the Niagara Region

Additional event details and tickets are available HERE. Tickets are $15 per event, with access to all three events available for $35.

All sessions will begin at 2 p.m. inside the Queenston Chapel at the Laura Secord Homestead, 29 Queenston Street, Queenston, Ontario.


Kevin Cottrell, left, and Saladin Allah, right.

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