Tour guide offers glimpse into Montreal's often hidden Black history
MONTREAL -- A Montreal guide is shedding light on the city's oft-overlooked Black history via walking tours through the old city.
“There's been Black people in Old Montreal for the past 300 years. Some of them first came as enslaved people, some of them came as fugitives, some of them were free, regular Black people that were free and thried in the city,” said Rito Joseph.
For the past three years, Joseph's walking tours have offered Montrealers and tourists alike a glimpse into a part of the city's past that has often been somber. Among the stops is a tucked-away plaque honouring Marie-Josephe Angelique, a slave who was accused of arson and killed in 1734.
“Some sources say she was used as a scapegoat because in those days, the colony of Ville-Marie wasn't doing too well,” said Joseph. “Other sources say she might have set the fire as an act of rebellion.”
Another stop is Place Marie-Josephe Angelique, which lies near the Champ de Mars metro station.
“There's not a plaque, not a monument, nothing to pay homage to this woman,” he said.
Joseph said it's his hope that others will take notice of what he's doing.
“People call it Black history but I like to say it's local history so it should be taught in schools,” he said.