When one needs support for a cause it is very important to keep it in the public eye, and to do that, we need the media. The challenge is to first get the attention of the media and then to be sure that the subject will attract the attention of the public. There are a few subjects that tend to grab attention and one is often money. People are interested in items that cost money and especially if it is their money or their tax dollars going to pay for the project. But how much money does it take to get the attention of the public. Government programs often cost hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars. These figures will raise eyebrows, but how much money will really get public attention?
Try 2¢. What? Yes 2¢. Now, are you not curious? When 2¢ makes the headlines, don’t you want to know why?
And that is what the Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project did. They launched the 2¢ worth campaign to raise $45,000 and it is working beautifully. Since 2¢ during the time the fugitive slave chapel was originally built is worth about $2.50 today the aim of the 2¢ worth campaign was to suggest that 18,000 concerned citizens could donate $2.50 and we would have the $45,000 that was needed. There were families that combined their money and sent a cheque with the results. At least one person sent in $1 and one person sent $10,000. The overall result for the first two weeks of the campaign was $20,000. It seems that, if you ask for a lot of money you will get a lot of no’s. But try asking for 2¢ worth and many will respond with a resounding “yes, and we will do better, we will give you much more than you asked for.”
There is one other factor that cannot be ignored, in fact it is the most important of all. This campaign was arrived at through much prayer. There is the Divine aspect to all of this. We are working under the guidance of the Almighty and it seems that He wants this little Chapel to be saved. And for this, the importance of the money pales beside the Heavenly Bounties that are being bestowed upon us. Yes, the result of bringing these two structures, that were built and dedicated to the worship of God, together will glorify the Almighty One. The Fugitive Slave Chapel, built about 1848, will be placed beside Beth Emanuel Church that was built in 1868-9 and replaced the old Chapel as the place of worship for the congregation. The richness of the history of these two buildings is astounding. Both buildings were involved in the formation of London as a community, but it is the religious history of these two buildings that is most important. Many say that the claim to fame for the Old Chapel was its role in the American Civil war, but this pales when compared to its role in the spiritual healing of an oppressed people. Slaves who were taught it was a sin against God to run from their masters congregated here and had to learn the Truth anew without the prejudices of their old masters who would often beat them while quoting scripture from the Bible. They needed to learn how to live as free persons without cruel masters to tell them what they must do. And adjust they did, and they did it well. The Black population of London came to London with almost nothing, yet managed, against all odds, to be among the most affluent of the community. The history books attest to this fact. And they did it without outside aid. Outside aid was often offered and many times accepted, but the results of it was often negative. Many a time the fugitive slave would just ask for equal opportunity, which they seldom got. Instead corrupt fundraisers would raise money on their behalf and then run off with the money. Even when it did come, the general consensus was that handouts made people lazy, and this group of new arrivals was anything but lazy. They did not want laziness introduced to their members and were willing to work hard to build a community in London. Their contributions to the now City of London in Ontario, Canada, was the greatest of any group of people who settled here. For this there humble beginnings need to be remembered and preserved. Thus it is that I am proud to represent the Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project as its Chairman and proud to be a part of the organization that remembers the contributions of such an honourable class of people. The Fugitive Slaves brought honour and affluence to a Community that did not welcome them. However the resounding outpouring of those contributing to the cause of Saving the Fugitive slave Chapel echoes with a belated Welcome to those honourable citizens that came to reside here in the mid 1800’s.
If you wish to participate and share in the honour of this project you can do that right now by going to www.fscpp.ca and making a contribution of any amount. Your 2¢ worth ($2.50) will be most welcome. If you give less or more, it does not matter. What matters is that you personally felt it was a cause worthy of your support and in that you honour those hardworking citizens who helped shape the community of London, Ontario. You can also send a cheque for any amount you please. Cheques should be made out to the Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project and sent to Beth Emanuel Church, 430 Grey St. London, Ontario. Canada. N6B 1H3.
Do you want to learn more. Our web site at www.fscpp.ca contains much more information about the project and we will continue to add to it, so come back often.
Chairman of the Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project.