Sylvia and Carolynn are direct descendants of early Black pioneers of Simcoe and Grey Counties and co-owners of the Sheffield Park Black History and Cultural Museum.
They are both recipients of the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women Award, the Order of Collingwood and Companion Award, among other awards in recognition of their community and youth initiatives. Carolynn volunteered for over 25 years to restore the Old Durham Road Black Pioneer Cemetery in Priceville, Ontario. Both she and Sylvia have served on the board of the Cemetery Committee.
“Several Sides of the Story"
Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell will deliver her talk “Several Sides of the Story", about learning to survive, even thrive, with different truths and different stories about black history and history in general.
Dr. Deverell has worked as an academic, broadcaster, television producer, journalist, and theatre artist. She has received numerous awards, including two Geminis, the Black Women's Civic Engagement Network Leadership Award, and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2005 for pioneering work in broadcasting. From 2002 to 2005, she served as News Director at the Aboriginal Peoples' Television Network (APTN), mentoring her Indigenous successor. In October 2021, Dr. Deverell was appointed Chancellor of Lakehead University, the first person of colour to serve in that role. A native of Texas, she has called Oro-Medonte home for the past 29 years.