Amber Valley, Alberta

One of the Black settlements created through the persistence of the Oklahoma African-Americans remains to this day. Amber Valley was settled by Black farmers who had been denied the same rights as others and who found the laws in Oklahoma to be more restrictive regarding Black rights. At the same time, the Canadian West was opening up, and settlers were actively being sought from the American Midwest.
Beginning in 1910 with a few individuals, then in 1911 about 200 were prepared to face the stiff border crossing questions. Successful under the leadership of Jefferson Edwards, it was decided to move to an area some distance away from Edmonton to form their own community. At its height, there were about 300 residents and they eventually had their own all-Black baseball team representing Amber Valley. More would have migrated had there been supportive measures by the Canadian government to allow family and former neighbours to join them from Oklahoma. Now only a few families remain.

The Blacks in Canada
The Blacks in Canada investigates the French and English periods of slavery, the abolitionist movement in Canada, and the role played by Canadians in the broader continental antislavery crusades.

“Deemed Unsuitable”: Black Pioneers in Western Canada
About the many challenges that faced Black settlers in western Canada during the 19th century. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Baseball
Read a brief story about Jefferson Davis Edwards and other players in Alberta’s Amber Valley Baseball Team. From the AlbertaSource.ca website.

Black Immigrants
Details about the hardships faced by John Ware and other early Black immigrants in rural communities and urban centres in Alberta. A University of Calgary site.

Archives Photographs
Search the Glenbow Museum’s archives for the following subjects: “Amber Valley,” “Blacks in Alberta,” “Blacks in Canada,” and “Blacks in Edmonton.”

A Farmer from Amber Valley - J.D. Edwards
A synopsis of the film A Farmer from Amber Valley, which tells the story of Black American J.D. Edwards, who sought freedom in Alberta. From White Pine Pictures.