With my Project Proposal finished and submitted, I have turned my attention to the real research and the exhibit. I spent time this week working on a bibliography of sources, and also got the exhibit site launched.
I have divided the bibliography into three categories: the early works up to 1920, the period between 1920 and 1960, and publications post-1960. I may end up changing those groupings but will have to do more work to see what the major changes were and when they happened. My sense is that there is early documentation that was recorded while slavery in the U.S. was still in effect. As well, in the decades following Emancipation, people tended to record the narratives of former slaves and free blacks living in Canada. And my initial sense of it is that only some decades later did historians begin to examine Black history from a more detached perspective. This was also the period that Social History became popular. I came across a historian named Fred Landon who is considered the originator of the study of Black history in Canada. He was born in London Ontario, and wrote many journal articles through the twentieth century. Karolyn Smardz Frost and a number of others have recently published a book compiling Fred Landon’s work. I chose to begin the third segment in 1960, thinking that changes in historical interpretation may have occurred along the 1960s Black civil rights movement, although perhaps that should start in the 1950s. My bibliographical search for publications seems like it could become a bit endless, but I am going to continue for a while and see if the same names start to crop up over and over. That is happening a bit already. I also need to look for more publications pre-1970.
Also this week I went back to the Omeka site and looked at their tutorial as well as a selection of samples they provided. With that information, and the notes I had taken from the Cohen and Rosenzweig book, I was able to create the beginnings of an exhibit. It is called – for lack of a more creative title: “Black History in Canada.” At least people won’t be confused as to what it is about. So far it only has a description.
So over the next week, I will aim to look at more sources for my bibliography and especially works from the pre-1970 period. And I think I would like to try to find a picture that I can post on my exhibit. I will likely post something for which the copyright restrictions have expired so that I don’t have to worry about permissions.