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Newspaper Articles




Following the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, Black communities in Hamilton begin developing rich lives as free people and adopt a variety of professions, locals develop organizations to support their communities, and Hamilton serves as a prominent destination for enslaved Americans escaping to freedom in Canada through the Underground Railroad.

NOTE: Resources containing hyperlinks to online materials are highlighted in Bold font

“Aaron Albert Mossell (1863-1951).” Penn University Archives & Records Centre.


“Black History Month: Who Were the Jubilee Singers.” (2014). Olive Tree Genealogy.


“Brown, Paola.” Dictionary of Canadian Biography.


“Charles Victor Roman.” (2014). Canadian Encyclopedia.


“Coloured Refugees Formed Settlement.” The Hamilton Spectator, 15 July 1946. 


“Concession Street History - Early Black Community on Hamilton Mountain.” Concession Street.


“Educational Resources: JAN 31 2012 Adrienne Shadd Talk.” Herstories Cafe.


“February 7, 1851: Hamilton crier Paolo Brown gives powerful lecture on slavery.” Hamilton Spectator, September 23, 2016.


“Fleeing Slaves Found Refuge in ‘Little Africa’ on Mountain.” Hamilton Spectator, 25 October 1984.


“George Morton Jr., Letter Carrier & Civil Rights Advocate.” Workers’ City.


“Griffin House Experience.” Experience - Commons. 


“Griffin House National Historic Site of Canada.” Parks Canada.


“Griffin House National Historic Site.” City of Hamilton.


“Griffin House: A National Historic Site.” Ancaster Township Historical Society. 


“Hamilton Police Historical Society & Museum - Black History.” (2021). Facebook.


“John Christie Holland.” African Canadian Online.


“Julia Washington Berry, Toll Keeper”. Workers’ City.


“Little Africa Remembered.” Hamilton Mountain News, March 5, 2013.


“Nathan Francis Mossell (1856-1946).” Penn University Archives & Records Centre.


“Richard Sorrick.” Ontario Black History.


“St. Paul’s African Methodist Episcopal Church.” Canada West.


“Who is a Freemason?” Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons Province of Ontario and Jurisdiction.


A. Jeffers Toby, ed. (1991). Hamilton: A Black Perspective. A History of Blacks and their Contribution. Hamilton: Afro Canadian Caribbean Association of Hamilton and District. [link to resource in the Hamilton Public Library Catalogue -]


Aaron Parry. (2021). Deeply Rooted: A Hamilton Black History Activity Book. Afro Canadian Caribbean Association.


Adam Carter. “The untold story of how Hamilton’s black community was built.” CBC News, February 20, 2018.


Adrienne Shadd. ‘Little Africa’: Where Do We Go From Here?: Report to Culture Division, Community Service Services Department. City of Hamilton. [Appendix F in PDF]


Adrienne Shadd. (2010). “Little Africa’ Revisited: Tracing Hamilton Mountain’s Black Community:” Report to Culture Division, Community Service Services Department. City of Hamilton. [Appendix F in PDF]


Adrienne Shadd. (2010). The Journey From Tollgate to Parkway: African Canadians in Hamilton. Dundurn Press. [link to resource in the Hamilton Public Library Catalogue -]


Col. W. Mallory. (1902) Old Plantation Days.


Desmond Brown. “‘Like finding the Mona Lisa’: Historian learns freed slave buried in Hamilton Cemetery is U.S. Civil War vet.” CBC News, March 30, 2021.


Gary E. French. (1978). Men of Colour: An Historical Account of the Black Settlement on Wilberforce Street and in Oro Township, Simcoe County, Ontario, 1819-1949. Kaste Books.


Jane Mulkewich. (2006). “Little Africa – Settlement Goes Back to 1850’s.” In Margaret Houghton (ed.) Vanished Hamilton II. North Shore Publishing Inc. [link to resource in the Hamilton Public Library Catalogue -]


Jason H. Silverman. (1980). “Kentucky, Canada, and Extradition: The Jesse Happy Case.” The Filson Club History Quarterly, 55.


Jeff Mahoney. “MAHONEY: Trail-blazing doctor overcame several obstacles.” Hamilton Spectator, October 30, 2013.


Jermain W. Loguen. (1859). The Rev. J. W. Loguen, as a Slave and as a Freeman: A Narrative of Real Life. J. G. K. Truair & Co., Stereotypers and Printers. [link to resource in the Hamilton Public Library Catalogue -]


Jon Wells. “Black history in Hamilton: A tour.” Hamilton Spectator, February 11, 2021.


Local History & Archives Hamilton Public Library. Flickr.


Local History & Archives: Historical Images. Hamilton Public Library.


Local History & Archives. Hamilton Public Library.


Mackenzie Leask. (1962). “Jesse Happy, a Fugitive Slave from Kentucky.” Ontario History, 54(2), 87-98.


Paola Brown. 1851. Address Intended to Be Delivered in the City Hall, Hamilton, February 7, 1851, on the Subject of Slavery. Hamilton.


Park History Program. (2000). “The Hill Family in Slavery, Freedom, & Transition.” In Exploring a Common Past: Researching and Interpreting the Underground Railroad. National Park Service.


Petition to the “People of Colour” of Hamilton to the Governor General protesting the practice of segregated schooling for Black children, October 15, 1843. Archives of Ontario.


Scott, Tara C. “how we came to be: the legacy of mary roth + wesley rhodes.” dhamma for mama*.


Songs sung by the famous Canadian Jubilee Singers, the Royal Paragon Male Quartette, and Imperial Orchestra: Five Years’ Tour of the United States. (188?). Duncan Lith Co.


Tracy Warren. (2008). Imagining, Remembering, Forgetting: Emancipation Day Celebrations in Hamilton-Niagara 1834-2008. [unpublished paper for Dr. H. V. Nelles, McMaster University].


William Still. The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narrative, Letters, & C., Narrating the Hardships, Hair-breadth Escapes and Death Struggles of the Slaves in their Efforts of Freedom as Related by Themselves and Others, or Witnessed by the Author; Together with Sketches of Some of the Largest Stockholders, and Most Liberal Aiders and Advisers, of the Road. Porter & Coates.


Workers Arts and Heritage Centre. The Souls of Black Folk: Hamilton’s Stewart Memorial Community. Virtual Museum of Canada.

Local Newspaper Articles (Chronological)

*Physical Hamilton Spectator articles may be found in the Hamilton Public Library archives. More info:

“Local and Miscellaneous Items - Emancipation.” Daily Spectator and Journal of Commerce, August 3, 1853.


“Celebration a Disgraceful Scene.” Hamilton Herald, August 4, 1853.


“Celebrations of the Anniversary of Emancipation.” Daily Spectator and Journal of Commerce, August 2, 1859.


“An English Opinion of the ‘Ambitious City’.” Hamilton Spectator, October 20, 1860.


“An Outrage Upon Society: Petition From the Coloured Citizens of Hamilton.” Hamilton Evening Times, October 23, 1866.


“A Whitewashing Proceeding.” Hamilton Evening Times, October 27, 1866.


“The New Barber Shop.” Hamilton Spectator, November 1, 1875.


“The Sun Do Move: Astronomical Opinions of Prof. Johnson of Hamilton.” Hamilton Spectator, January 10, 1882.


“The Sun Do Move: Reconstruction of the Sciences of Geography and Astronomy by a Hamilton Preacher.” Hamilton Spectator, May 8, 1882.


“Razors in the Air: Prof. Gant’s Barber Shop Bombarded.” Hamilton Spectator, February 12, 1883.

“The British Lion.” Hamilton Spectator, October 12, 1883.


“Doomed to Destruction: The Earth to Come to and End in Fifty Years - A Modern Edition of Mother Shipton.” Hamilton Spectator, November 2, 1883.


“The Walls of a City: A Chat With a Toll-Gate Keeper About Tolls.” Hamilton Spectator, January 23, 1884.


“Colored Oddfellows.” Hamilton Spectator, August 28, 1884.


“Astronomical Johnson.” Hamilton Spectator, August 29, 1884.


“Prof. Gant’s Say.” Hamilton Spectator, October 23, 1884.


“Gant’s Ultimatum.” Hamilton Spectator, October 24, 1884.


“In a New Role: Prof. and Col. C.A. Johnson Announces a Startling Machine.” Hamilton Spectator, July 20, 1885.


“On Earthquakes: Fourth Lecture by the Rev. C. Astronomical Johnson.” Hamilton Spectator, August 6, 1887.


“A Joke on Astronomical Johnson.” Hamilton Spectator, August 23, 1887.


“Market, Fire, Police: the Colored Citizens Present Their Rightful Claims.” Hamilton Herald, December 25, 1889.


“Colored Brigade.” Hamilton Herald, December 26, 1889.


“The Proposed Brigade: It is Opposed by Prof. Gant, Who Gives His Reasons.” Hamilton Herald, December 26, 1889.


“What the Firemen Think, A Mean Insinuation Against the Colored Brethren’s Staying Powers.” Hamilton Herald, December 26, 1889.


“The Colored Fire Brigade. A Corps of Sixteen Men Suggested for the Job.” Hamilton Herald, December 27, 1889.


“The Colored Fire Brigade: Chief Aitchison Declines to GIve an Opinion on the Subject.” Hamilton Herald, December 28, 1889.


“Her Majesty’s Loyal Negroes: Editor Johnson Assures the Queen of their Unswerving Devotion.” Hamilton Herald, February 12, 1890.


“Brer Johnson’s Latest Full Text of His Remarkable Address to Sir John Macdonald.” Hamilton Spectator, February 13, 1890.


“John and Little Oscar: Professor Gant the Plaintiff in an Amusing Case.” Hamilton Herald, July 28, 1890.


“Prof. Gant Makes a Call: He Conveys the Regards of the Coloured Citizens to Lord Aberdeen.” Hamilton Spectator,  September 19, 1890.


“Professor Jesse Gant: a Man Whose Genius is Many-Sided.” Hamilton Herald, November 2, 1895.


“Ended in a Free Fight: Watermelons in the Air at Last Night’s Dundurn Show.” Hamilton Spectator, August 20, 1896.


“C. Astronomical Johnson Talks Wisdom to the Benighted People of St. Kitts.” Hamilton Spectator, March 6, 1897.


“Mr. Johnson Mops the Floor with the Spectator.” Hamilton Spectator, March 8, 1897.

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