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AfriGeneas Canada Research Forum

Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott (1837-1913)

Provincial plaques celebrate black history in Chatham

CHATHAM, ON, Nov. 27 /CNW/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society unveiled two provincial plaques commemorating Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott (1837-1913) and the Provincial Freeman newspaper - both significant in Ontario's black history.

"Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott and Mary Ann Shadd - chief editor of the Provincial Freeman - were pioneers in Ontario," said The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust. "They were leaders in the
struggle for freedom and equality, helping to pave the way for future generations of blacks in this province and across the country."

Anderson Ruffin Abbott was born 1837 to Wilson and Ellen Toyer Abbott, free African-Americans who settled in Canada. Abbott was enrolled in the first class of the Buxton Mission School near Chatham and later continued his education at the Toronto School of Medicine. He received his medical licence
in 1861, becoming the first Canadian-born black to graduate from medical school. Despite his success, Abbott was aware of the injustices faced by enslaved blacks in the United States. In 1863, he became one of eight black surgeons to serve in the Union Army during the American Civil War. After returning home, he established a medical practice in Chatham and was active in the community. He became one of the first coroners for Kent County, and its first black coroner. Eventually, he and his family returned to Toronto, where he died in 1913.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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