Stories of the hopeful, brave people who fled slavery and made Toronto their home.
“An engaging and highly readable account of the lives of Black people in Toronto in the 1800s.” — Lawrence Hill, bestselling author of The Illegal
The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Toronto! explores Toronto’s role as a destination for thousands of freedom seekers before the American Civil War. This new edition traces pathways taken by people, enslaved and free, who courageously made the trip north in search of liberty and offers new biographies, images, and information, some of which is augmented by a 2015 archaeological dig in downtown Toronto.
Within its pages are stories of courageous men, women, and children who overcame barriers of prejudice and racism to create homes, institutions, and a rich and vibrant community life in Canada’s largest city. These brave individuals established organizations not only to help newcomers but also to oppose the ongoing slavery in the United States and to resist racism in their adopted city.
Based entirely on original research, The Underground Railroad offers fresh insights into the rich heritage of African Americans who became African Canadians and helped build Toronto as we know the city today.
Adrienne Shadd is a consultant, curator, and author, who has been recognized with the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations and the J.C. Holland Award for her research and writing.
Afua Cooper is a multidisciplinary scholar, author, and artist. Her indomitable research on slavery and Black history has made her one of the leading figures in African Canadian studies and the authority on Canadian slavery.
Karolyn Smardz Frost is an archaeologist, historian, and award-winning author. She and her team at the Toronto Board of Education's Archaeological Resource Centre uncovered the first Underground Railroad site in Canada.
The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Toronto! is a story to be told and retold over time and who better to do this than these most capable historians, Afua Cooper, Adrienne Shadd, and Karolyn Smardz Frost. A history worth the retelling.
The book will be an invaluable addition to any school, public, and personal library that seeks to document the history of and contribution to society of African Canadians and the role that the Underground Railroad played in boosting the immigration of Black people to what became Ontario. Highly recommended.
As a young African Canadian woman born and raised in Toronto, I am thrilled to turn the pages of this book and discover my roots and heritage. I honour the courage and determination of the freedom seekers who made Toronto their home and helped to develop the city. Cooper, Shadd, and Smardz Frost have diligently brought to light and shared with us, unknown histories of Black ancestors. The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Toronto! is ambitious in its scope, thorough in its depth, and expansive in its reach. It is an essential read for people of my generation and beyond. I commend and thank the authors for this ground-breaking work.
The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Toronto! stands out as an engaging and highly readable account of the lives of Black people in Toronto in the 1800s. Adrienne Shadd, Afua Cooper, and Karolyn Smardz Frost offer many helpful points of entry for readers learning for the first time about Black history in Canada. They also give surprising and detailed information to enrich the understanding of people already passionate about this neglected aspect of our own past.