Black History On Display At Dresden Raceway
Emancipation Day 2021 held many important moments for the local Black community.
It was the first year Emancipation Day was officially recognized by Canada.
It also marked the first Black Heritage Day at Dresden Raceway honouring the long history of Black drivers, trainers, horse owners, and others involved in harness racing in Dresden.
“This is a good day,” said Fred List, the oldest former driver on hand.
“It should have been done for my dad, he was a better driver than me, but it’s good.”
List’s father Harry List was one of the earlier Black drivers at Dresden Raceway.
The List family, along with the McCorkle, Grineage, Prince, Davis, Simmons, Tanner, and Guest families were recognized, as was Josiah Henson, who founded the Dawn Settlement outside Dresden, and also raised and bred horses.
“There were good Black drivers here for years,” List said.
List knows the struggles of being a Black man involved in horse racing. He was denied service at restaurants in Dresden, and recalls his father only being given the horses that no one else would drive.
Emancipation Day 2021 in Dresden however, was a celebration. The grandstands were filled with local Black families there to celebrate the rich local history of Black horsepeople.