Support Black History Month—with Desmond Cole, WSO, & more

Pictured: art by Philip Crosby, "Fugitive Slaves Fleeing to Canada, 1986"

February 01, 2023

Amherstburg and Essex County have a deep connection to the Black community. The area was a major terminus of the Underground Railroad, and the Nazrey A.M.E. Church was central to that history.

The River Bookshop is pleased to be teaming up with the Amherstburg Freedom Museum to host a number of events that will shine a light on the history of the Black community and the continuing issues they face today.

The impressive line-up is definitely consistent with our values: educate, inspire, and engage. We hope you will come out to support a number of the events. 

First up the Windsor Symphony Orchestra celebrates Black composers with a concert in the beautiful Nazrey A.M.E. Church at 7 pm this Friday. Tickets are $30 and available in person at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum or at

Next up on Saturday is a presentation by bestselling author, award-winning journalist, and activist Desmond Cole. Desmond is not shy about “puncturing the naive assumptions of Canadians who believe we live in a post racial world.” You definitely don’t want to miss this powerful conversation. Given its history of protecting Freedom Seekers, the Nazrey A.M.E. Church is a perfect setting for Desmond’s 1 pm talk. Admission is free, and we encourage you to register here.

Story Time for little ones is now a Sunday morning tradition in Amherstburg and our celebrity reader Cari-Lynn Ristic will read books curated for our Black History theme. 1 pm in the children’s nook of River Bookshop.

On February 8 at 6:30 pm at the River Bookshop, Willow Key will present the story “Windsor’s Black Mecca: Recovering the Stories of the McDougall Street Corridor.” It’s a little-known story of how redevelopment plans drove Black people from their homes and businesses in the 1950s. Admission is free, and we encourage you to register here. Also available on Zoom: please email for the link.

And on the next night, February 9 at 6:30 pm, the Amherstburg Freedom Museum’s leadership team will tell you the story about the museum—a town jewel that all residents should visit and also bring visitors to see. Admission is free, and we encourage you to register here. Also available on Zoom: please email for the link. As an incentive, every attendee will receive a free ticket to visit the Amherstburg Freedom Museum.

If you visited the Group of Seven exhibit last summer, you should not miss our new pop-up Art Gallery. During the entire month, our event space will display seldom seen art from the Amherstburg Freedom Museum’s collection. Open every Saturday and Sunday in February from noon to 5 pm (except Sat., Feb. 18, from 3-5 pm). Free Admission, and no registration necessary. We will also be offering a virtual tour of the exhibit online, which will be linked on our page within the coming weeks.

Pictured: a preview of the art exhibit in the Hole in the Wall, featuring art by Harry M. Zeilig (left) and W.J Stapleton (right), courtesy of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum. 

Later in the month, our book club will also celebrate Black History Month. On February 28 at 7 pm we’ll be discussing Suzette Mayr’s Giller-winning book The Sleeping Car Porter. If you’d like to keep up to date on our book clubs, we encourage you to email and we’ll add you to our list. We send our reminders as well as links to attend virtually if you can’t make it in person. There's no commitment, so feel free to join us for any month you like!


“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”—Desmond Tutu

We hope to see you soon!

The River Bookshop Team 🦾


Event Accessibility Notice:

The River Bookshop is a heritage building that was built in 1887. The main floor was restored to be completely accessible. Our second floor, the Hole in the Wall event space (where our audio-visual technology is located), is not accessible. To make our events virtually accessible, we offer Zoom broadcasts of all our events. If you would like to have access to any of these broadcasts, simply email us at any time before the event and we will send you the link to view it.

Pictured in the preview image: over the fireplace, art by Philip Crosby, courtesy of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum.