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“Chatham was not a Mecca only. In a broader and truer sense, it was the coloured man’s Paris” -Rev. Richard R. Disney

Welcome to the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society

The Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society, a Non-Profit Organization, is dedicated to the discovery, research, and preservation of the black history found in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and the city of Chatham.

In the early 1800’s five Black families settled along McGregor’s Creek in the tiny town of Chatham, then known as “the Forks”. The Village soon became a haven for runaway slaves and by 1850, its population was 1/3 Black.

Once here, Blacks in Chatham thrived in business, education, medicine, sport, and literary and cultural arts. News of their success attracted Blacks to the area from across North America.

The history of Blacks in early Chatham is not only of local significance; the years of Black contribution and participation in Southwestern Ontario left a fundamental impression on the national landscape.