A young Black woman who resisted her own enslavement in Queenston, Upper Canada, in the late 18th century is being honoured by Canada Post.
The Chloe Cooley commemorative stamp features an illustration of Cooley and is released in time for Black History Month.
A Canada Post release says Cooley had “a profound impact on the history of enslavement in Canada” and that her actions led to the gradual abolition of enslavement in the region.
In March 1793, Cooley was kidnapped by her enslaver, Sgt. Adam Vrooman, who bound and forced her on a boat that led across the Niagara River to the United States, where she was sold.
Cooley had been known to challenge her slavery in the past, and she fought back hard.
Her screams for help and attempts to get free drew the attention of witnesses who later recounted the violent incident to Lt.-Gov. John Graves Simcoe.
Simcoe used testimony about Cooley’s attack to introduce new legislation, and in July 1793 the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada was passed.
Canada Post says the legislation “set the stage for the gradual ending of enslavement in Upper Canada” and helped create “a legal refuge for those fleeing enslavement in other countries.”
The stamp was designed and illustrated with the help of experts in regional and Black history, archival paintings and other documents.
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