Canfield Roots

Director: Graeme Bachiu
Genre: Lifestyle

Efforts to protect an abandoned cemetery containing the graves of freedom seekers reveal stories and experiences of some of the Black families who settled in this part of rural southern Ontario.

To watch Canfield Roots:

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Episodes

Episode 1

You’d never know it but the sleepy hamlet of Canfield in Southern Ontario has an interesting history, one that’s been hidden from view for years. Bill Douglas lived in Canfield most of his life and even he’s surprised when local historians begin to reveal his family’s role in Canfield’s rich history of Black ancestry.

Episode 2

As Bill Douglas visits the BME Church Salem Chapel in St. Catharines to learn more about freedom seekers in Ontario his sister Betty Ann confronts her memories of Canfield. Outside the village an abandoned family cemetery containing the grave site of Harriet Tubman’s niece attracts the attention of local historians.

Episode 3

On a cloudless February night in 1953, former Canfield resident Harry Lee was hung for murder in Hamilton, the last man to to be executed at that city’s notorious Barton Jail. Seventy years later, former residents of Canfield reflects on the impact of Lee’s hanging on the village community while Betty Ann Newman grapples with the memory of the man she called Uncle Harry.

Episode 4

An estate sale in Houston, Texas leads a collector to research an artist with a connection to an abandoned family cemetery in Canfield. As more details rise to the surface, an ancestor of Harriet Tubman’s niece shares her family’s remarkable story and link to this cemetery as well.

Episode 5

Frustrated over delays, a group of residents and descendants meet to discuss what to do over an abandoned family cemetery in Canfield, the final resting place of freedom seekers who settled in Canada in the mid-1800s.

Episode 6

As descendants of freedom seekers gather at an abandoned family cemetery to mark Emancipation Day, they reflect on the struggles and successes of their ancestors. In Spokane, Washington Betty Ann Newman shares the stories and photos of her family in Canfield with her grandchildren.

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