Ontario's Historical Plaques 

Discover Ontario's history as told through its plaques

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Hugh Burnett and the National Unity Association

Hugh Burnett and the National Unity Association

Photo by contributor Rick Mason - Posted May, 2011

Hugh Burnett and the National Unity Association

Photo by contributor Wayne Adam - Posted September, 2011

Plaque Location

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent
In Dresden, on the northeast corner of
St George Street and St. John Street

Coordinates: N 42 35.573 W 82 10.763


Plaque Text

Between 1948 and 1956, the National Unity Association (NUA) of Chatham, Dresden and North Buxton, under the leadership of Hugh R. Burnett, waged a campaign for racial equality and social justice. Their efforts led to the passage of Ontario's Fair Employment Practices Act (1951) and Fair Accommodation Practices Act (1954), and laid the groundwork for subsequent human rights legislation in Ontario and across Canada. Traditional Anglo-Canadian rights, such as freedom of association and freedom of commerce, had historically been interpreted to permit discrimination on grounds of race, colour or creed in providing services to the public. The NUA inspired recognition of freedom from discrimination as a fundamental principle; this led to a revolutionary change to the course of Canadian law and Canadian history. Hugh Burnett and the NUA were early pioneers in the articulation of equality rights for all Canadians, now constitutionally inscribed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


Black History

Other Plaques in Dresden
The Dawn Settlement
First Regular Baptist Church, Dresden
The Founding of Dresden
Josiah Henson (1789-1883)

Chatham-Kent Plaques

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