Federal government to replace stolen plaque honouring abolitionists Mary and Henry Bibb in Windsor

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The pedestal in Mary E. Bibb Park where the plaque honouring Mary E. Bibb and her husband Henry was once displayed. (Sanjay Maru/CBC - image credit)
The pedestal in Mary E. Bibb Park where the plaque honouring Mary E. Bibb and her husband Henry was once displayed. (Sanjay Maru/CBC - image credit)

The federal government is replacing the Mary and Henry Bibb plaque that was stolen from a Windsor park last month.

The plaque valued at more than $6,000 — which is dedicated to the influential slavery abolitionist couple who lived in Windsor — was reported missing to Windsor police on March 26. On Thursday, Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk announced that the government would install a new plaque in the summer.

"The disappearance of the federal plaque recognizing [Mary and Henry Bibb] as Persons of National Historic Significance has been a painful episode for many members of our community, whether persons of African heritage or allies. The news of its replacement is a tremendous relief," Irene Moore Davis, president of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society, said in a news release.

The city had restored the plaque during Black History Month in February to coincide with the Sandwich Town park's renaming from Mackenzie Hall Park to Mary E. Bibb Park.

Mary E. Bibb, who was born to free parents in Rhode Island, moved to Windsor with her husband Henry in 1850. The following year, they first published The Voice of the Fugitive, an anti-slavery newspaper.

"The restoration of this plaque has tremendous importance for our community, and it is critical to honouring the remarkable story of Mary and Henry Bibb while preserving and sharing an important chapter in the rich, proud Black history of our region," Kusmiercyzk said in a news release.

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.

<cite>(CBC)</cite>
(CBC)