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Entertainment: 3 new documentaries planned to tell Sandwich Towne's Black history

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A new series of three short documentaries aim to tell the history of Sandwich Towne, focusing on the area's prominent Black history. © Provided by cbc.ca A new series of three short documentaries aim to tell the history of Sandwich Towne, focusing on the area's prominent Black history.

Three short documentaries are being shot in Windsor, Ont.'s Old Sandwich Towne, to capture the significance of Black history.

The fact many old buildings remain standing in the neighbourhood is a plus, according to the producer.

"In addition to interviewing scholars and descendants and people who have been studying and researching these stories, we also have an opportunity to shoot visually Sandwich, to intercut current footage of Sandwich with historical photos, images, documents, and so on, to really engage people and pique their interest," said Irene Moore Davis, president of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society and producer of the project.

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The films are being funded by a grant from the Gordie Howe International Bridge company through a Community Benefits Plan.

Irene Moore Davis smiling for the camera: Irene Moore Davis, president of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society, is producing the three films. © Dale Molnar/CBC Irene Moore Davis, president of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society, is producing the three films.

That grant is awarded as part of the company's way to try and better communities closest to the construction of the new bridge.

The west-end neighbourhood is rich in Black history, which is recognized in artwork and dedications — there are 16 murals honouring prominent people including Annie Hyatt, Howard Watkins and Walter Perry, a plaque honouring the works of Mary and Henry Bibb, and Sandwich First Baptist Church is still the oldest active black church in Canada — to highlight a few.

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Moore Davis said she hopes the short documentary format will make history more accessible to people, because much of the information is in academic books or original records.

"I think that we've had a tendency to focus on the overarching narrative of the Underground Railroad without delving into these in these narratives," she added.

Murals in historic Sandwich Towne feature prominent Black community members of the region. The mural stands 10 feet tall and 64 feet wide in Windsor's west end. © Jennifer La Grassa/CBC Murals in historic Sandwich Towne feature prominent Black community members of the region. The mural stands 10 feet tall and 64 feet wide in Windsor's west end.

"We have so much rich history around us ..."

The films are expected to be released June 2022.

A plaque honouring Mary E and Henry Bibb stands in Sandwich Towne's Mary E Bibb Park. © Aastha Shetty/CBC News A plaque honouring Mary E and Henry Bibb stands in Sandwich Towne's Mary E Bibb Park.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

  3 new documentaries planned to tell Sandwich Towne's Black history © CBC

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