The Amherstburg Freedom Museum is located in Amherstburg, Ontario, a chief entry point into Canada for those escaping slavery in the U.S.
Amherstburg resident Melvin “Mac” Simpson believed that social, economic and educational problems could be addressed more effectively by people with a greater self awareness and pride in their own history.
He wanted to do something tangible to increase Black awareness, to help future generations claim and develop enhanced dignity, strength and purpose of being. He envisioned a means to educate the entire community.
In 1966, the pastor and members of the Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church, which included Mr. Simpson, raised money to build a museum hall attached to the church. The Museum became incorporated in 1975. Funding from municipal, provincial and federal governments, individuals and local businesses allowed the construction of the current building, which opened on September 20, 1981. Mac Simpson died January 1982, having added to the legacy of his people.
The Church was given a new life in 1999, with major renovations to the interior, exterior and roof, and was designated the first Black National Historic Site in Canada. It has been preserved as part of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum and is a testament to the Underground Railroad and a symbol of freedom.