Elwin International Tours
Ottobah Cuguano of Fantee Country.
It happened this way
this is how he told his story.
One day in 1767 Ottobah Cuguano of Fantee country,
Ottobah Cuguano of Agimaque in Fantee Country
went to visit his uncle, his mother's brother in Assinee,
three days distance from his home.
At first Ottobah Cuguano missed his home, family, friends
but soon was drawn into work and play
of the very many children in his uncle's compound.
He loved to play their forest games
though the darkness which hid the buonsam
scared him also.
They followed long paths and trails
chasing each other,
catching forest birds.
One day they came around a larger tree
when suddenly they were set upon by ruffiuans
with cutlasses and pistols who told them they had offended at distant Lord
and now they would be taken to plead their case.
They tried to run, run, run.
They dove and jumped and shrieked and yelled.
Uncle, father, mother, help
but they were told to
"lie down or die
lie down or die
lie down or die."
Divided into smaller groups,
separately they walked for several days,
told soon they would be free,
so the Lord would set them free.
Tired they came to a town they did not know
and heard some men speaking a language they
did not understand.
And days went by,
confusing days where they were given
something like a party and told to wait
to see the Lord.
And after still more days no Lord came
but Ottobah Cuguano of Fantee country
was told he could go home
home to mother, father, family, friends
So he was told to walk again
and after still another day and night
Ottobah Cuguano came over hill
and look beyond a fringe of trees
to first-time sights of white and dazzling sands
of water, brighter and more vast than
all the sky of Fantee country.
Suddenly the shapes and objects far away
came into focus.
Chains, chains, chains, chains!
Two buy two, people like him
shackled and tied, shackled and tied.
Browfow, white faced people, standing by.
"what am I doing here? ", Ottobah Cuguano cried
“ to learn the ways of white faced people "he was told
Ottobah Cuguano of Fantee country
Ottobah Cuguano of Agimaque in Fantee country.
Traded into slavery.
Traded into ways of white faced people.
one piece of lead.
Ottobah Cuguano wept,
gatherer of fruits,
player of forest games,
nephew of his mother's uncle.
Tears drifting silently through the depths of
an ocean he had never seen.
By Budd L. Hall
Based on the account of his own capture written by Ottobah Cuguano in 1787 and published by Lalage Bown (ed.) "Two Centuries of African English" : Heinemann, 1973.
Underground Railroad Tours - Canada
What was the Underground Railroad?
Technically speaking, it was neither. It wasn't a railroad and it wasn't underground. It was a name given to a network of people who hid and guided slaves as they followed the North Star to Canada -- to freedom. Historians’ estimate that tens of millions of black Africans were shipped as slaves to the United States and Caribbean in terribly overcrowded boats. Only 15 million survived the journey. Of those for 40,000 fled to Canada; after the Civil War 20,000 returned to the south. The saga of their bold journey North is the subject of these tours.
An area steeped in history.
In 1783, following the American Revolution, many British loyalists left the United States and moved into upper Canada; they brought with them the slaves. On May 21st 1793, Lt. Gov. Col. John Graves Simcoe introduced a bill, which prevented the introduction of further slavery into Upper Canada. As a result, a substantial black population established itself in the region.
The 1820s, refugee slaves from the United States began following the North Star to find shelter behind upper Canada's humanitarian policies. By the 1830s the “Underground Railroad” had brought the first permanent settlements of fugitive slaves to Sandwich (a small town in South Western Ontario). The first Baptist Church in the area was quickly established; it still stands today.
On August 28th 1833, King William IV of Great Britain gave Royal Assent to the bill, which put an end to all slavery, in what is today called Canada.
The African Diaspora