James Mink

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James Mink was a black man who became a respected businessman in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the 1850s. He owned a hotel and livery on Adelaide Street near Toronto's St. Lawrence market, where many farmers would stay while in town selling their produce.

James Mink, the son of Johan Herkimer's slave named Mink, became a millionaire, as did his brother, George. He had a hotel, livery and coach service in Toronto, while his brother was located in Kingston, Ontario in the 1840s to 1860s. Both brothers started the first public transit system in their respective cities, James from the Town of Yorkville to the St. Lawrence market in downtown Toronto. He married a white Irish immigrant, Elizabeth. James and Elizabeth had a daughter, Mary, and possibly some other children. It was customary to offer a dowry for a daughter, and so James Mink offered a large dowry for his daughter's hand and there's evidence of his advertisements. It is believed that a businessman named William Johnson accepted the dowry, married the daughter, and took her on a honeymoon to the United States.[1] However, after the wedding, Johnson revealed himself to be a slave trader and sold Mary into slavery on a Virginia tobacco plantation. In the fictional movie, Mink pretended to be his wife's slave, traveled to the American South and successfully rescued Mary and several other slaves, but that is not true. Archives reveal that it is more likely that he got the British government officials to buy her back and return her home, where the census reveals lived at his home on the Don and Danforth Road between Pape and Carlaw Streets.

Mink's story was told in the movie Captive Heart: The James Mink Story, starring Lou Gossett, Jr. as James Mink and Kate Nelligan as his wife.[2][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Black History Month 2006: The James Mink Story". Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  2. ^ O'Connor, James (1996-04-12). "TV Weekend: Slavery as Experienced By a Mixed-Race Couple". New York Time. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  3. ^ Petrin, Guylaine (Spring 2016). "The Myth of Mary Mink: Representation of Black Women in Toronto in the Nineteenth Century". Ontario History. 107 (1): 92–110. doi:10.7202/1050613ar. Retrieved 30 March 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • Pearson, W. H. (1914). Recollections and Records of Toronto of Old, With References to Brantford, Kingston and Other Canadian Towns. Toronto. pp. 63–64.

"THE BLACKS IN CANADA - A HISTORY" by Robin W. Winks, 2nd Edition, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997

LANDMARKS OF TORONTO Volume 1, - by John Ross Robertson Reprint Series No. 70, page 50,Mika Publishing Company, Belleville Ontario, 1976.

"SLAVERY, THE LOYALISTS, AND ENGLISH CANADA". QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES

"THE FREEDOM SEEKERS – BLACKS IN EARLY CANADA (1981) " by Dan Hill.

"THE MYTH OF MARKY MINK: REPRESENTATION OF BLACK WOMEN IN TORONTO IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, by Guylaine Petrin. Ontario Historical Society Vol. CVII No. 1, Spring 2016