B.M.E Church in Niagara Falls played a role in the ‘underground railroad’

It may not be the wonder of the Horseshoe Falls, or have the dazzle of Clifton Hill, but as Lauran Sabourin reports, the B.M.E Church in Niagara Falls has become somewhat of a tourist attraction for the role it played in the “underground railroad”.

Black history advocate Wilma Morrison welcomed a busload of tourists from Maryland into the Nathaniel Dett B.M.E Church in Niagara Falls.

Thousands of people risked their lives along the secret routes and safe houses on the underground railroad, heading north to escape slavery. “We’ve been here over 200 years, and helped to build this community. We want that known. We want our young people to know that, we want the general community to know that.”

Hundreds of American tourists visit this Peer Street Church every year.

30,000 people escaping slavery settled in Ontario. The church used to be centre of the community. Today, churches are more integrated. But that integration has nearly spelled the end for churches like the B.M.E Church in Niagara Falls.

How many members do they have? “It’s a good thing you didn’t ask before June” laughs Wilma Morrison. “It was just the minister and I”

Tourists keep the church doors open. Visitors offer donations, Wilma offers her knowledge of black history.


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