Breaking Chains: Thornton and Lucie Blackburn's Journey from Enslavement to Freedom
Thornton and Lucie Blackburn were freedom seekers who fled enslavement in Kentucky and established the first taxi business in Upper Canada.
The Blackburns, whose story was lost and only re-discovered in 1985, were born enslaved in the United States. Almost extradited after escaping to Canada, the Blackburns settled in Toronto where they started the first taxi business in Upper Canada, generating enough wealth to help aid other freedom seekers. The Blackburns’ case helped set a legal precedent that popularized Upper Canada as a destination on the Underground Railroad. Their legacy of activism, generosity, resilience, and innovation helped shape the city of Toronto.
This video was produced by the Citizenship Challenge and Historica Canada. Take the Citizenship Challenge quiz and view more educational resources about civics and citizenship at http://citizenshipchallenge.ca/
Video production by Corex Creative. A special thank you to Dr. Karolyn Smardz Frost, who led the archaeological investigation that uncovered the Blackburns’ story, and who lent her expertise to the making of this video. The Blackburns' remarkable story is told in the pages of their biography by Karolyn Smardz Frost, I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, and Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2007).