‘Stories that have never been told’: Black History Walking Tour celebrates Black heritage

Still of the Black History Walking Tour offered by the Fredericton Region Museum. (Submitted: Fredericton Region Museum)

Since Emancipation Day on Aug. 1, the streets of Fredericton have been part of the Black History Walking Tour, showcasing and bringing to life the stories of New Brunswick’s Black community.

Jennifer Dow, board member of Remembering Each African Cemetery’s History (REACH) is the creator and the host of the tours.

“The walking tour shows that Black history is intertwined with all of the history of Fredericton,” she said.

Dow said that the community must be aware of Black heritage because it composes a significant part of New Brunswick’s narrative and how much of it has been left out of Fredericton’s historical record.

“A lot of the information that’s out there currently, is lacking in a lot of these stories.”

One of the stories shared in the tour is focused right on Fredericton City Hall, where Dow talks about the first Black city councilor. She said people commonly mistake Fred Hodges as the first Black city councilor elected in New Brunswick, when in reality it was Carl Howe in 1971.

Collage for the Fredericton Black History Walking Tour. (Submitted: Jennifer Dow )

She said telling these stories is important because anyone new in the province can find a “sense of belonging… knowing Black people as part of our community, historically.”

The last walking tour is scheduled for Sept. 28 at 6 p.m., starting at the Fredericton Region Museum and lasting about two hours.

The tour takes you through 22 different locations where they focus on history dating from the early 1800s up until the 1980s.

Besides the walking tour, there is an exhibit at the museum called “Our Black Heritage,” which explores Black history in New Brunswick from the first Black Loyalists to present day movements such as Black Lives Matter.

Dow remarked on the importance of going to the in-person tour as you will get a personal expedition, plus added content that the digital versions are not going to have.

“All the work I do is for my community, to honor my ancestors and the lives they live.”