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Henry Bibb became a pivotal leader in the abolitionist movement by using the power of the written word to publish Canada’s first Black newspaper, “The Voice of the Fugitive”.
This moving novel depicts Henry’s life from a child fathered by a slave owner to a brave young man fighting for liberty. As students read this first-person account of Henry’s life they will experience shock at the harsh brutality of slavery, while at the same time being inspired by his indomitable spirit that triumphs over oppression through belief in himself and the strength of his people.
This book supports social studies lessons centered on African- Canadian history, particularly related to the migration of American slaves into Canada. The story could also serve as a catalyst to an investigation of contemporary slavery. Students could learn about countries where atrocities such as forced child labour still occur and develop an advocacy project that uses writing as a tool to promote change.
Henry was born into slavery as a “mulatto” who was fathered by his white slave owner. However, his mother ensured that African customs and stories were interwoven into his life and formed the basis of his values and ideals. Students could research their own family history and record stories from older family members to create a "living memory" project that focuses on customs and beliefs.
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