Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 171: Mantracker and Black History

So there's this TV show that we love called Mantracker. It's a Canadian reality show where two ordinary folks have to out-wit and out-run the Mantracker. They rarely do. Usually they panic and run blindly into the woods and twist an ankle. It's awesome.

From the website:

"Two people take off into the bush with a map, a compass and a head start. The tracker is on horseback, armed with a local guide and an arsenal of forensic skills. The prey have 36 hours to reach a finish line some 40 kilometers away without getting caught. How they escape is up to them."

The last episode featured two black guys from Toronto as the prey. They described themselves as city boys who never spent much time outdoors.  As they made their way through the wilderness, they talked about how this experience was similar to their ancestors running from white slave owners on horseback, traveling toward Canada and freedom on the Underground Railroad.

That got me thinking. Were there many slaves that escaped into Canada? Apparently the answer is yes - 
between 1840 and 1860, approximately 30,000 American slaves did just that. You don't hear much about Black History outside of the United States. I certainly hadn't. I had heard of the Underground Railroad, of course, but didn't realize it went all the way to Canada.

Isn't that the mindset of a lot of Americans? We're just not aware of much of anything that happens (past or present) in Canada. Or anywhere outside our own country...or state, or town, come to think of it. Unless it benefits us, of course ;)

Turns out, there's a lot of Black History in Canada.
A few days after the Mantracker episode, there was a very interesting lecture on public TV about Canada's connection with the Underground Railroad. That got me Google-ing and reading about Black Canadians (sometimes referred to as African-Canadians, though Wikipedia told me 'Black Canadian' is generally preferred)

Much good stuff here or here check it out. It's quite interesting :)


  1. Very cool. That show sounds like one I would get hooked on. Totally.

    And as an American, I try to stay interested in foreign countries and cultures. :)