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Emancipation Day

July 29, 2009

I'm glad to see that it is back. When I was a kid it was the only festival my father would take me to and I have real fond memories of it. It was a huge festival then and I really missed it.

What is it about…. Well in 1833 the British Empire banned slavery. Its hard to believe that it lasted that long, but at least it ended.
Why so important here? Windsor and area was a terminus of the Underground Railway. Good people, risked all to help smuggle these poor people to freedom and Detroit and Sandwich were major stations. Assumption Church had a tunnel to the river which was deemed sanctuary so the escapees were safe in the church as soon as they landed. The Baptist Church in Sandwich was a terminal also. Downtown Detroit had man sanctuaries and the historic markers point them out and some weren't where I expected. Our people did good work.
Of special note was the settlement in Colchester. Josiah Henson ( an escapee) set up a settlement there on rented land for fellow escapees. From the maps I have seen, the wineries are basically right there and I think that Viewpoint may very well be on a part of it. Maybe that's why the wine is so good. This settlement moved to Dresden where Henson and his supporters set up a settlement where the escapees were educated and taught a trade. There they were much safer from the Bounty Hunters than here. His life story was retold by Harriet Beecher Stowe in " Uncle Tom's Cabin" . This book was a rallying cry for the Abolitionist Movement and helped cause the Civil War which ceased slavery in the US. 
I am amazed how far we have come in my lifetime, but it only saddens me how far we have to go. I hope that I can live in Dr King's Dream in my lifetime.
So lets go celebrate something that a government did which was a good thing. A good thing that ended a loathsome practice 

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