Join local historian Heather Rennalls for a riveting discussion as she explores the seldom-told history of early Black settlers in Woodstock, Ingersoll and Norwich Township

Oxford County Library and Oxford County Archives are excited to announce a new date and time for the second installment in the new Local History Speaker Series:


Almost Forgotten: Black History in Oxford County

Almost Forgotten: Black History in Oxford County poster for OCL and Archives Speaker SeriesWednesday, March 1, 2023, 6:00- 7:30p.m.

Tillsonburg Branch of the Oxford County Library


Originally this presentation was set to take place on Wednesday, February 22, however Oxford County Archives and Oxford County Library made the decision to postpone it for one week due to freezing rain in the region.

Local historian and freelance writer Heather Rennalls will lead this important discussion on the early Black settlers in Woodstock, Ingersoll and Norwich Township. Most early Black settlers in Southwestern Ontario were former slaves who arrived in Ontario through the Underground Railroad in the mid-1800s. This presentation will focus on those who made their home in Oxford County and examine their struggles and triumphs along the way. 

The Almost Forgotten: Black History in Oxford County presentation is the second in the Local History Speaker Series, a new program co-organized by the Oxford County Library and Oxford County Archives. Presentations in this series focus on topics related to the history of Oxford County and its broader region. The first session, Tillsonburg 1872: The Action-Packed Story of Town Incorporation, was held in October.

Space is limited but the event is free, and registration is not required. For more information, call the Tillsonburg Branch library at 519-842-5571 or see Oxford County Library’s Program Calendar at


About the Author/Presenter

Heather Rennalls is a local historian and freelance writer who has been researching Black history in southwestern Ontario for over twenty years. A resident of Oxford County, Heather has been published in newspapers and magazines, has appeared on CBC Radio and Global News, and lectures regularly to students and the public. Her website, Heather’s Historicals, shares much of her research on Black history in the region and offers additional resources for teachers. Heather also sits on Southwestern Ontario’s Black History Committee. 


Social media and online content

Oxford County Library

Facebook: Oxford County Library

Twitter: Oxford County

Instagram: oxfordcountylibrary

Oxford County Archives

Instagram: @oxfordcountyarchives


About Oxford County

Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario at the crossroads of Highways 401 and 403, Oxford County has a population of approximately 125,000 people across eight area municipalities that are “growing stronger together.” As a partnership-oriented, two-tier municipal government, Oxford County is emerging as a leader in sustainable growth through the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan and County Council’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy, becoming a zero waste community and working towards zero poverty. Situated in one of Ontario’s richest areas for farmland, agriculture is a key industry that is driving innovation in sustainable industries and diversifying the local economy. Oxford County offers a thriving local arts, culture and culinary community, as well as conservation parks, natural areas and more than 100 kilometres of scenic trails. The Oxford County Administration Building is located in Woodstock, Ontario. Visit or follow our social media sites at Oxford County’s Strategic Plan is at


About Oxford County Library

With a vision to “connect, discover, share, become,” Oxford County Library provides Oxford’s communities with excellent, responsive services in a welcoming and inclusive environment. Services encompass free lending of books, DVDs and other materials; access to online catalogues, databases and lifelong learning tools; community information; local history and genealogy support; children’s, teen, and adult programming; literacy services; job search resources and information about government services; computer access; the Kitchen Library and more. The Library’s 14 branches are located in Brownsville, Burgessville, Embro, Harrington, Ingersoll, Innerkip, Mount Elgin, Norwich, Otterville, Plattsville, Princeton, Tavistock, Thamesford and Tillsonburg. For more information visit