Breaking the Chains: Presenting a New Narrative of Canada’s Role in the Underground Railroad is a groundbreaking intiative designed to produce and share new scholarship on the immigration to Canada of African American refugees from slavery. Funded through a Knowledge Mobilization grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), this project promises to do nothing less than write a new chapter in the history of the Underground Railroad.
The Tubman Institute is collaborating with scholars and educators, community groups, libraries, government agencies and other stakeholders to develop and disseminate newly-acquired data about Canada’s Underground Railroad-era heritage in ways accessible to, and engaging for, multiple publics, and especially children and youth.
Primary documentation, images and maps, coupled with personal stories and memories of representatives of the descendant population, will bring to life the tales of men, women and children who risked their lives in search of freedom. It will focus on new research that foregrounds both the leadership of African Americans in the operation of the secret system of slave escape through the northern US, and the part played by African Canadians in the reception of what represented a very large body of immigrants into the early to mid-19th century Canada.
A host of creative and curriculum-relevant instructional media linked to an interactive website, an on-line Teachers' Resource Guide and Summer Learning Institute are the eagerly-awaited outcomes. Of particuar interest are plans for the development of Teaching Kits using augmented reality technology. Using maps that “talk”, on-line narrators who tell their own stories to teachers and students alike, and a host of web-linked learning tools, Breaking the Chains promises to bring to life the heritage of Canada’s Black pioneers using technologies appropriate for 21st century classrooms.