The website for this symposium can be found @: www.tinyurl.com/lkdsbblackheritage

This project has been a long time in the making. Chatham-Kent has a rich history of Black Heritage and Culture and it is essential that our students find ways to connect, discover and celebrate their identity.

As teachers, we expect our students to be leaders, and in turn our students expect their teachers to lead. This symposium is an opportunity to listen and learn, brainstorm and bond - think and plan. We selected presenters and speakers we know will inspire you to bring new ideas back to your schools to create change in your communities. Here's what you can expect in that department.


Sugar and Gold – The Story of the Underground Railroad in Canada is a 50 minute lively, interactive performance that includes songs, slides, and storytelling to tell the exciting history of the Underground Railroad in Canada and the story of the first Black settlers that settled here.

Diana Braithwaite is a descendant of the Wellington County pioneers in Canada. With roots in Florida, Dianas ancestors escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad and lived for four generations in Wellington County, the first African-Canadian pioneer settlement in Ontario. Diana combines elements from Nina Simone, Esther Phillips, Lil Green and others to create her own unique authentic blues style. A forceful presence recognized on the Canadian and American blues scene as an artist with a unique sound who is keeping the authentic traditional blues sound alive in the contemporary blues scene today.

Multi-Instrumentalist Chris Whiteley was born in Kansas. Whiteley has performed on over 200 recordings with the likes of Leon Redbone and Blind John Davis. In Canada, Whiteley has received the Blues with a Feeling Award, for lifetime achievement in the blues. In January 2014 Chris Whiteley won the Maple Blues Award for the top blues horn player in Canada--for the 7th time.


Nadine Williams, a native of St. Mary Parish, Jamaica, is a poet and author, who credits her success to humble beginnings reading under the kerosene lamplight to her family as a child, coupled with being reared by witty grandparents who spoke in parables all the time.

Currently she calls Brampton, Ontario her home. In 2008, she successfully self-published her first book of poetry, The Culmination of Marriage Between Me & My Pen, and has been actively engaged in many noteworthy events throughout the GTA ever since. The overwhelming success and demand for the book resulted in the launch of two new books, With This Pen I Do Tell, and a children’s book, Love Rocks.

In 2011, Nadine was the recipient of four awards: Community Service Award from York Regional Police, Mayoral Award as Brampton poet, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Volunteer Award, and Culture Link Community Service Award.

She has read at Queen’s Park for Black History Month, Canada Day and Emancipation Day ceremonies. She was designated as POET for Black History Month 2010, appearing on the City of Brampton’s Black History Month poster for 2011. Nadina has read at several schools as well as countless community events organized by United Achievers, City of Brampton, City of Toronto, Peel Children’s Centre, University of Toronto, York University, George Brown College, and York Regional Police. She has read at countless International Women’s Day events and facilitated workshops for MicroSkills and YWCA. She was involved in the flag raising ceremony for Jamaica’s independence with the City of Brampton, and with the Hon. Margaret Best at Queen's Park. She has been in the media several times, readings on Rogers TV, CHRY 105.5, Planet Africa TV, and CBC Radio. Nadine participated in initiatives to stop violence with MP Ruby Dhalla in Brampton. She read at the Aroni Awards, The Planet Africa Awards, The African Canadian Women Achievement Awards, The BBPA Sponsorship Appreciation Reception and Scholarship Awards, for the nurses at Sunnybrook and Women's College Hospital in commemorating Nurses Week, as well as for The City of Brampton’s United Way Campaign.


Natasha Henry is an educator, historian, and curriculum consultant, specializing in the development of learning materials that focus on the African Diasporic experience. She is the author of Emancipation Day: Celebrating Freedom in Canada (June 2010), Talking About Freedom: Celebrating Freedom in Canada (January 2012), Early Societies: Africa, China, and Europe (2013). Natasha also wrote The African Diaspora (2014) and African Canadian Firsts (2014) in the Sankofa Black Heritage Collection by Rubicon Publishing.

Firsts received the 2014 Gold Medal Moonbeam Children's Award for Multicultural Non-Fiction. Natasha has also written several entries for the Canadian Encyclopedia on African Canadian history. She has developed the educational resources for several exhibits and web-based projects on the Black experience in Canada. Natasha is currently an occasional elementary teacher.

Itinerary and schedule of events

8:30 - Registration / Sign In

Teachers, after you have registered at the registration table in front of the cafeteria, please have your students make their way inside the room to find a seat. We are asking that students from the North sit on the left side of the room so at the end of the performance they can exit through the back left set of doors to locate the buses at the front of the building. For the first set of breakout sessions, students from the North will be at Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Students from the South will find seats on the right side of the room so that at the end of the performance they can exit through the front right set of doors to make their way to the gymnasium. For the first set of breakout sessions, students from the South will be in the gym with Nadine Williams.

Teachers from both the North and the South can sit on the respective left and right sides with their students. At the end of the performance they can exit through the back middle doors to make their way to the Lecture Theater. For the first set of breakout sessions, teachers will be in the Lecture Theater with Natasha Henry.

9:00 - Keynote - Sugar & Gold
Sugar and Gold dropping Grade A knowledge and putting on a dynamic performance @ LKCS - #lkdsb.
10:00 - 11:30 Breakout Sessions
  • Teachers - Natasha Henry (Lecture Theater)
  • Students (South) - Nadine Williams (Gymnasium)
  • Students (North) - Uncle Tom's Cabin
Nadine Williams leading an exciting and informative poetry workshop for #lkdsb.
#lkdsb leading and learning at Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Once your breakout session has finisghed, please make your way back to the gym for lunch. Lunch will be staggered with students from the South starting to eat around 11:30/11:45 and students from the North starting to eat around 12:00 once they return from Uncle Tom's Cabin. Tables will be set up at the side of the cafeteria. Lunch will consist of broasted chicken and wedges.

11:45 - 12:30 - Lunch

After lunch is finished, students from the South will make their way out the back left set of doors to proceed to the buses for Uncle Tom's Cabin. Students from the North will make their way out the front right side doors to proceed to the gymnasium with Nadine Williams. *Teachers will attend Nadine's presentation in the gymnasium.

12:45 - 2:00 Breakout Sessions
  • Students (South) - Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • Students (North) - Nadine Williams (Gymnasium)
  • *Teachers - Nadine Williams (Gymnasium)

After the second set of sessions has finished, please make your way back to the cafeteria for final remarks from the team.

collaboration and follow-up

This site will be used as a central hub to collect and document resources and artifacts related to this symposium. Throughout the course of the day, and in the days that follow, we will be posting photos to showcase some of the amazing work that will no doubt be done by our staff, students and community partners.

At the end of the day, we have one favour to ask. Below, you'll find a button that links you to a Google Form. In that form, you'll find four short questions we designed to get a sense of your experience and interest level in connecting on future projects. Please fill it out before you leave. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will pay dividends in helping us find ways to make resources and opportunities as engaging as possible for teachers and students.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.