Lana Talbot

Amherstburg Freedom Museum and Artists of Colour unveil “Journeys” exhibit



By Ron Giofu


A new art exhibit is on display at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum with the official opening last Friday night.

“Journeys” debuted with Windsor-Essex County artists contributing work towards the exhibit’s first phase, entitled “New Canaan Journey in Pursuit of Freedom.” The exhibit is described as showing how the Underground Railroad gave birth to the first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for social change within the United States. The exhibit is further described as one that “speaks of the courage and determination of a people who refused to accept the degradation of slavery. Both black and white stood up against the injustice and demoralization of slavery, risking their lives and livelihood opposing the injustice inflicted upon their brothers and sisters.”

Dennis K. Smith, one of the artists that comprise the Artists of Colour, said the exhibit shows where they came from and what it took to find freedom. He said they hope it travels around as a teaching tool.

Lana Talbot shows one of her paintings that are featured as part of the “Journeys” exhibit at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum through April 1.

Accompanied by musicians Jim Walls and Karzell Dew and conductor Milo Johnston, there was a presentation describing the stories behind the 14 paintings in the Nazrey AME Church before the public went to the second floor of the museum building to view the works themselves.

“We tell our story through art,” explained Smith. “As we tell it, we learn a little more about ourselves.”

Mary-Katherine Whelan, curator at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum, stated the exhibit is about “the journey to freedom.” It is another way to provide an educational tool to those who may not know the history.

“It’s important to tell the story of a generation who refused to accept the degradation of slavery,” said Whelan.

The exhibit will not only run through February, which is Black History Month, but right up until April 1.

Connie Lee-Turner stands with one of her paintings that is part of the “Journeys” exhibit. The art can be viewed on the second floor of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum.

The Artists of Colour also plan an exhibit at Mackenzie Hall in Windsor May 11-20 entitled “Mosaic.”

The Amherstburg Freedom Museum is open Tuesday-Friday 12-5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 1-5 p.m. Admission is $7.50 for adults and $6.50 for students and seniors with Whelan adding that people will get $1 off admission during Black History Month if they can answer when the Nazrey AME Church was built and by whom.

For more information, call 519-736-5433 or visit There is also a list posted on the website of other Black History Month events happening, with Whelan noting the list was compiled by the Essex County Black Historical Research Society.

Ramsey helps out at Mission on Christmas Day



By Ron Giofu


The annual Christmas tradition continued at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission where the riding’s Member of Parliament came to help serve dinner.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey maintained the tradition this year, as she and members of her family attended the mission to help serve the people that turned out Christmas Day. Going to the mission on Christmas was something done by her predecessor Jeff Watson but Ramsey said her involvement with the mission actually began a few months ago.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (second from left) joined volunteers at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission to help serve Christmas dinner.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (second from left) joined volunteers at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission to help serve Christmas dinner.

“I came out at Thanksgiving,” she said. “I met (mission president) Tim (McAllister). We had a great time serving everyone and we decided to come back for Christmas.”

The new MP said assisting with Christmas at the mission was another way of helping out. She said the role of a Member of Parliament is to help the constituents.

“As an MP, that’s what I’m here to do,” said Ramsey.

The New Democrat said she plans on making helping at the mission on Christmas Day an annual tradition.

“Whenever Tim needs me here, we’ll be happy to lend a hand,” she said.

Ramsey said her husband’s aunt Lana Talbot is a long-time volunteer at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission. Talbot estimated it has been about eight years that she has been volunteering and was drawn in by the sign that displays the mission’s “people helping people” motto.

“That sign is what got me in here,” she said, noting she also knows McAllister through church.

“I love the mission,” Talbot added. “I love the people.”

Mission president Tim McAllister said the Christmas Day dinner went over well again this year.

“Christmas was a beautiful  day at the mission. We served 120 meals,” said McAllister. “The mission would like to thank the community for their support.”

Talbot added a lot of people need assistance but are not always sure the level of help they require.

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission is located at 298 Victoria St. S. and can be reached at 519-736-9140. Their website is