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 144th Emancipation Celebration Festival 2006
“Community Roots and Culture”

To our Emancipation Community,

Our 144th Emancipation Festival was an astounding success this year, truly embracing the Festival concepts of “Community, Roots & Culture”.

The Emancipation Festival Committee (EFC) would like to thank Petal Furnas and Grey Roots Museum & Archives for their partnership in presenting a Speakers’ Evening – “Community, Roots & Culture – Perspectives”, introducing song, spoken word, historical and spiritual renderings and Festival musician
recordings. Special thanks to Norma Black Bourdeau, Maryland; Patricia Neely, Windsor; Kathleen “Strong” James, Toronto and Barry Penhale, MC, Natural Heritage Books, Flesherton for their entertaining, educational and moving presentations. Special awards were presented recognizing their volunteered contributions. Mayor Ruth Lovell, Owen Sound, was presented with a plaque in appreciation for her continuous support in Emancipation Festival undertakings.

Petal Furnas, Grey Roots, was presented with an original oil painting by Dennis Scott, Chair, EFC, created by Linda Johnson, Weagamow Lake, Ontario, entitled "Grandma". Linda also donated “Maybelle's Baptism" for Petal’s dedication in developing the first annual two-week Black Art Exhibit. In collaboration with Doris Fraser, Artistic Coordinator, EFC, who developed an
excellent exhibition, and numerous talented artists, Grey Roots was able to present a diverse, cultural exhibition of high quality original art. Thank you Petal, Doris, artists and museum staff in managing an excellent exhibition and we welcome your participation next year.

Friday August 4th was the official kick-off of the International Emancipation Childrens’ Fund. “Pennies from Heaven” spare change will be collected throughout Ontario earmarked for the Children of South Africa in need of educational tools, medicine and healthcare, food, shelter and clothing. 100% of all donations will be donated towards this program through Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network and managed by TD Canada Trust branches across Ontario. Donations may be made at any TD Canada Trust
facility - Transit # 33762 Account #5211557 or any Emancipation Festival event with total donations presented at our Emancipation Celebration Picnic on August 4, 2007. The EFC would like to thank Dave Guzzo, Owen Sound Branch Manager, and his team in partnering with us in this fundraiser.

We’d also like to thank Semex Alliance, Guelph, the world’s leader in bovine genetics, in offering to present cattle, insemination and veterinarian expense assistance towards South African community development. We are hoping to make this presentation to Oprah at our 145th anniversary on August 4, 2007.

Our newly formed partnership with the Scenic Order of Good Cheer was an amazing success. Word has it that there were people taking fish home on the bus coordinated by Sally Houston of the Ontario Black History Society. “It was beyond our expectations” stated Tom Gillespie, Coordinator of the Fish Fry. Special thanks to Tom and the Order of Good Cheer volunteers for their
quality work. We look forward to the Order of Good Cheer complimenting our festival on an annual basis. Thank you Sally Houston for initiating and coordinating the bus tour from Toronto. We enjoyed the company of your group and welcome them to join us in other Emancipation Festival events.

The ambience of this year’s picnic was exuberant in part due to the décor designed and contributed by Cathy Harris of Interior Elements of Design, Mississauga and committee member; Bruce Kruger, President, Ontario Guild of Towncriers and the numerous musicians, sound personnel, support volunteers and the visit of Tabby and Nick of CFRB 1010.

Cathy will be the float designer along with a new partner, Jean Kerr, West Side Nurseries, Owen Sound. We welcome Jean and West Side Nurseries to our team. Thank you as well to Cliff Heiple, Parade Project Manager, for obtaining a float from EC King Contracting, Owen Sound and Lisa McAllister, our new Public Relations Representative who secured the partnership with
Jean and West Side Nurseries.

Bruce Kruger, Orillia, who has participated in the last 3 Emancipation Celebration Picnics and the Cairn Grand Opening will also be participating in the Owen Sound 150th Birthday Parade, August 4, 2007 with his team of Town Criers. Since his inclusion into our celebrations, initiated with the Ontario Guild of Towncriers honorarium to John “Daddy” Hall, Owen Sound’s 1st Town Crier, one of its first black inhabitants and former slave, Bruce has opened our annual Picnic with his effervescent and candid appreciation of our Emancipation. We thank Bruce and his team for their dedicated participation and look forward to a continual relationship.

Special thanks to all who contributed to this year’s Festival success including Cathy Harris, Bruce Kruger, Tabby Johnson and Nick Maiorano of CFRB Radio (their have been numerous responses and inquiries resulting from Tabby & Nicks “Emancipation Program” and we have heard that they will be joining us for the full 3 day event next year). The EFC exuberantly
appreciates their coverage of this year’s event and their integration into our community. Thank you as well to Dorothy Abbott in bringing Tabby, Nick and CFRB to our family.

A special and personal thank you to James Fife, Kitchener (Sound), Peter Slack, Guelph (Audio Recording); Dorothy Abbott, Etobicoke, (Registration and Fund Raising); John & Pat Miller, Brampton (symbolic shirts & hats); Vicki Nibbs, Toronto (Crafts Coordinator); Vanessa Scott, (Games Coordinator); Cheryl Hansler, Toronto, Family Tree & Genealogy; Jim Wayner,
Owen Sound, Website Development; Valerie Coon & Linda Johnson, Still & A/V Photography; Bonita Johnson de Matteis in assisting in the promotions of the
Black Arts Exhibit; Bing Bowie and Journey’s End, Players of Instruments, Jim Wayner and the Bearcats, Blackburn and Friends and Lisa Scott, MC of the event for the dedication shown in their participation in our Festival’s success.

Lisa Scott, Director of Public Relations, EFC, is also the coordinator of the International Emancipation Childrens’ Fund (IECF) and is currently developing an educational network of Black History speakers to present to Ontario Elementary schools throughout Black History Month in February. Anyone interested in participating, please call Lisa at 905 331 0020 or email at This is an ideal opportunity for retirees to communicate with children their experiences within the Black Culture and to further educate our history.

A special thank you goes out to Cliff “Pal” Heiple for all the behind the scenes coordination in presenting a quality Emancipation Festival. Cliff has worked on the EFC in attending Owen Sound Festival & Arts meetings and conventions, orchestrated picnic facilities development, introduced new sponsors to the committee and has facilitated the Festival’s ongoing success. Cliff has obtained a float for entry into Owen Sound’s 150thBirthday parade (donated by EC King, Owen Sound) and is Project Leader for
our participation in the parade.

A special thank you goes to our “seasoned” sponsors, the Downtown Area Improvement Association (Peggy Moulaison) and Little Caesar’s Canada (Richard Greville) who have contributed to the Emancipation Festival for the last five years. Thank you Maryann Thomas of the Ginger Press Bookstore, Barry Penhale and Jane Gibson of Natural Heritage Books for their storefront
promotions of the Speakers’ Evening and Art Exhibit.

We welcome Cindy Zeedar and Lisa McAllister of Owen Sound and, Ann & Ron Harrison of Orillia, Kathleen “Strong” James (Toronto), Betty McKillop (Hamilton) and Linda Johnson, Weagamow Lake, Ontario as new members of the Emancipation Festival Committee. Sharon Maluske (Owen Sound) who started with the committee five years ago has reinstated her membership and we
welcome her back.

Next year’s Festival will be a celebration of the cumulative efforts of all who have been involved with the Emancipation Festival/Picnic from its inceptions 144 years ago. We will honour all who have paved the way for our emancipation and continually endeavour to uncover, document and educate “true” cultural history. It is our hope that we will inspire other cultures to follow suit and appreciate the values of integration, family, “community, roots and culture”. Through continuous collaboration and communications we can instill and promote individual appreciation and cultural identification and knowledge. This will reflect on our understanding of interpersonal, cultural and community issues and our ability to continuously progress towards prosperous resolutions. This will enable OUR descendents to have a sound base of knowledge to further perpetuate their emancipation.

“Cheers” to all in being a vital part of the Emancipation process and continued successes in all of your ventures. Please Spread the Word – Emancipation Festival August 3 – 5, 2007.

Dennis Scott, Chair
Owen Sound Emancipation Festival
905 331 0020 Voice
905 331 3159 Fax

Post Scripts: We are exited to welcome the Adventure Cycling Association in partnership with the HYPERLINK "" University of Pittsburgh's Center for Minority Health, Underground Railroad Bicycle Tour cyclists to Owen Sound and the Emancipation Celebration Festival Picnic on August 4, 2007. We hope that they will also
participate in Owen Sound’s 150th Birthday parade which both the OS Collegiate & Vocational Institute (150th Anniversary) and the Emancipation Festival Committee (145th Anniversary) will be participating. There are individuals who have booked reservations already which is highly recommended.

Adventure Cycling: HYPERLINK ""

Center for Minority Health:“The Underground Railroad Bicycle Route honors the bravery of those that fled bondage and those that provided shelter. This route passes points of interest and historic sites along a 2,100-mile corridor. Beginning in Mobile, Alabama – a busy port for slavery during the pre-civil war era – the route goes north following rivers through Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Waterways, as well as the North Star, were often used by freedom seekers as a guide in their journeys to escape slavery. Upon crossing into Ohio, the route leaves the river to head toward Lake Erie and enters Canada at the Peace Bridge near Buffalo, New York. In Ontario, the route follows the shores of Lake Ontario and ends at Owen Sound, a town founded by freedom seekers 150 years ago.”

“Adventure Cycling developed this bicycle route to honor the Underground Railroad—one of the most fabled paths to freedom in the world. It is our goal to provide a bicycle route that celebrates the bravery of those who chose to flee slavery and the scores of Americans (and Canadians) <SIC> that offered aid on their route to freedom.”

“The history … comes alive as you pedal along the corridor that traces the Underground Railroad route from the Deep South to Canada. This bicycle route memorializes the Underground Railroad, a network of clandestine routes by which African freedom seekers attempted to escape for many years before and during the Civil War.”

“CMH and Adventure Cycling share the goal of encouraging people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds, including African Americans, to explore the landscapes and history of America by bicycle. The organizations created this partnership in recognition of the capacity for bicycle travel to build stronger cross-cultural relationships among our nation's citizens
while promoting lifelong health through a form of physical activity available to people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds.”

“The CMH is dedicated to the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities in cancer, heart disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, immunization, infant mortality and mental health by the year 2010.”

“Outreach efforts began in 2006 with the development of the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route brochure. Through the generosity of HYPERLINK "" \nCMH, HYPERLINK "" \nREI, Inc., and HYPERLINK "" \nBikes Belong Coalition, this brochure was created to inform others about the route and project. HYPERLINK ""
\nDownload the brochure (688 KB) and pass it along to those who might want to ride, take a tour, or be involved in the project. You can also help us reach our goals by HYPERLINK "" \ndonating to the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route.”

PPS: Special condolences to Brook Blackburn and his family who recentlylost his wife, Tara Shawn Smith and to John & Pat Miller and family, who recently lost his mother, Molly Miller Thompson. Brook, John & Pat, for years, have been consistent contributors to the Emancipation Festival/Picnic. Our hearts go out to Brook, John and Pat and all associated families and acquaintances.

PPPS: If you are interested in a succinct and well written appreciation of Black History, especially focusing on Grey/Bruce counties, obtain the three journals of “Northern Terminus” published annually by the Grey County Archives in partnership with Bruce and Grey Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, and the Durham Chamber of Commerce. The articles are
informative, eye-opening, expressive and accurate, oftentimes written from personal experiences, ancestral oratory and supportive research. These journals are a MUST to add to your literary collection and can be obtained, for a modest fare, from:

The Grey County Archives
Grey Roots Museum & Archives
102599 Grey Road 18, RR#4,
Owen Sound, ON N4K 5N6
1519 376 3690