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The Bottom Will Rise and Create a New World - Book 2

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Why the Central Focus of the World Revolutionary Movement Must Be the Destruction of Racism
The Bottom Will Rise and Create a New World
ISBO's first book: click here
for full text and ordering information.

Mary Ann Shadd Cary
Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Fighter against Slavery and for Equality of Black and White, Men and Women

Yanga, Maroon Leader in Mexico
Lessons from Escaped Slaves, September 2010       (Click images for zoom)

Our report from ISBO's research trip to North Buxton in Ontario, Canada and Maroons in the Great Dismal Swap in North Carolina and Virginia, U.S.A.

ISBO Research Trip 2010: Learning from escaped slaves who built communities in Ontario and North Carolina

In September 2010, researchers from the ISBO visited several communities created by former slaves in Canada and the U.S.

Our goal is to learn from the ancestors who defeated slavery and created communities of their own. We believe the lessons of their heroic movement can help us build a movement today to liberate all humanity from war and oppression, and create an egalitarian new world.

Part One: North Buxton Homecoming, Ontario, Canada

2010 was the 86th year that descendants of the Underground Railroad came to a reunion of the community their ancestors built. This pear tree stands where the first reunion was held in 1925.

2,000 escaped slaves built a self-sustaining community here. Today, it is known as North Buxton, Ontario, Canada.

The school at North Buxton was so good that the public schools closed because white parents sent their children to that school instead.This began a long history of white people in Buxton learning and taking leadership from black escaped slaves and their descendants.

Whites in North Buxton married into black families.

At Homecoming, it is hard to tell who is "white" and who is "black".

Note: Most of the Homecoming day images are from the Buxton Museum website,

Homecoming photographcs by Andy Stockdill.

We thank the Buxton Museum for allowing us to use them.

How many places do you know where the white folks

show up for the black folks' parade?

How many places do you know where white-looking people claim their black heritage...

instead of "passing" for white.

The tradition of black leadership by escaped slaves created a different kind of race relations amoung the descendants of the Buxton community both "black" and "white".

Homcoming features re-enactments of the experience of running away from slavery...

and building a new community.

So the young people...

...won't forget their history.

During the re-enactment show, a little white girl sang a song dedicated to her best friend. Later on her best friend - a little black girl - san a song and dedicated back to her.

The Homcoming sports events have interesting rules. In the basketball games, you call your own fouls.

In the softball game, there is no sliding into home base.

These rules avoid injuries and fights.

Self-Sufficiency: The Elgin Settlement produced most of their own food.

Seed Planting Machine

Clothing and bedding, the Underground Railroad Quilt not only kept people warm; it also gave instructions to help slaves run away to freedom. Here, 3 women work on one at the Buxton Homecoming.

Shelter, handmade sawmill.

Interior of the original Buxton home.

Education: Buxton School, the community's top priority.

Buxton also sent organizers to fight against slavery in the U.S. This is a recruitment poster for the U.S. Civil War.

Our history is not all in books. People who were fighting against slavery did not write down what they did, it was too dangerous.

Much of our history is in the memory of the people. The people are our most important resource for research about our struggle.

All over the Americas, black people led the struggle that ended slavery. They were doing similar things in every country.

From 1800 to 1880, they forced the abolition of slaver in all of the Americas.

The purpose of our research is to find out how they did it, and how the free communities they built actually worked.

Part Two: Maroons in the great Dismal Swamp. North Carolina and Virgina, USA

The Dismal Swamp covered 2,000 sq miles during slavery days. It is estimated that 40,000 maroons might have lived on islands of high ground in the Swamp.

The forest was very thick and treacherous. It was easy to lose yourself in it.

The Swamp was full of water, quicksand and thorns. Slave catchers were afraid to go in it, so once you were in, you were safe.

The Swamp was part of the Underground Railroad. Maroons, slaves, and outlaw whites on the the borders of it helped runaways find their way North. But many made the Swamp their home rather than risk more travel with slave catchers on their trail.

The Swamp is now only 190 sq miles. It is a wildlife refuge and park.
Peeling the Wicker: Jamaica Project
A hawk guards the entrance to the Swamp.

George Washington was the first president of the U.S. He was a slave owner. He wanted to drain the Swamp to get the maroons out.

He failed. Maroons lived, raised their children and took care of themselves in the Dismal Swamp for generations.

Thier descendants today live where the Swamp used to be, alongside the remaining swampland.

The people keep their memories about their ancestors to themselves. They are still surrounded by racism.

But the older people want to share their knowledge. We will send a young researcher to record their stories, because we need them for our struggle.
International School for Bottom-up Organizing