The answer to question 17 in our black history pop quiz. This former slave escaped to Canada from the U.S. on the Underground Railroad, becoming the inspiration for a 19th-century classic in American literature before starting a teaching farm in southwestern Ontario for slaves who followed him to freedom. Test your knowledge starting on page 18.
A few days after "Evergreed" appeared in big red letters on one of the Brick Works buildings - and was quickly spray-painted over - it showed up again. This time, unfortunately, it's on the historic Brick Works mural. Not everyone is psyched about non-profit Evergreen's $50 million redo of the Brick Works. (Read the related post, Ever-troubled Brick Works, at nowtoronto.com/daily.)
A DIFFERENT SPIN
City snow crews are actually doing a decent job this year clearing the white stuff off bike lanes, including, that hell's half-acre for two wheelers, the Bloor Viaduct. At Yonge-Dundas Square, though, benches have been encrusted with snow and ice for weeks.
OPEC's cutting supply, workers in the tar sands are being laid off by the hundreds and demand's down by 10 per cent. Still, Big Oil can't help itself, squeezing at GTA pumps to juice lagging profits by charging way above the world benchmark - 8 cents more per litre, to be exact. The "free" market giveth, the "free" market taketh away.
Tory MP Peter Kent
The Thornhill rep has ventured into some far-out places politically on the Middle East. Now, he's popping up as a Facebook "friend" of the head of the Arab-phobic (and we're being kind in our choice of words here) Jewish Defense League. With friends like these....
ON THE RECORD
Adrienne Shadd, co-author of The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Toronto!, being reissued by Natural Heritage Books/Dundurn Press. She is a descendant of pioneering abolitionist newspaper publisher Mary Ann Shadd, whose father, Abraham D. Shadd, was Canada's first black elected official; his portrait is featured on a postage stamp issued this month.
I didn't know much about my ancestors growing up, but one day the librarian at the museum in Buxton handed me an article. That's when I realized what they had done.
The Shadds were free blacks originally from Wilmington, Delaware. In 1851, Abraham and Mary Ann came to the Convention of Coloured Freeman in Toronto. There were about 1,000 black people living in the city, but not all of them turned up in the records. Many didn't want to be found; they were afraid of former slave owners coming to kidnap them. When the black community heard of such events, they flocked to protect the person.
I was surprised at the number of blacks who were educated and at the number of skilled tradespeople. A few even arrived with a lot of money.
Some, like my family, came from free communities where blacks had already established churches and community self-help organizations. They brought all that here.
There was an immediate need because of all those arriving with just the clothes on their backs.
It was something to learn how blacks flocked to the courthouse - a standing-room-only crowd - to hear the case of John Anderson [an escaped slave facing extradition on a murder charge], and to read about the huge celebrations when he won.
What would my ancestors say about the election of Obama as president? They probably thought they were on the eve of full equality after the Emancipation Proclamation. They would be appalled that it took another 150 years to elect a black president.