collected by Bonita Johnson deMatteis
Every year for most of her life, author Bonita Johnson deMatteis has attended the Emancipation Picnic in Owen Sound. To her it was a family picnic, a chance to catch up with many of the cousins, aunts and uncles in her extended family. As she grew older, she learned about the history of this longest running emancipation event in North America which began in 1862. Since that time, descendants of former slaves who settle in Owen Sound and area have come back to celebrate Emancipation Day on the first Saturday in August.
In addition to the evolution of the Emancipation Picnic during the last 150+ years, Black Eyed Peas & Races contains a brief history of Owen Sound as the northern terminus on the Underground Railroad, as well as memories from the Picnic and recipes for some of the delicious food families brought to share.