Storytelling in Prince Edward County

Like the country storekeepers at the Rednersville Country Store in the good old days, we love to swap stories about the history of Prince Edward County, and yes, we still gossip about the neighbours if you stop by the store for a visit. Many of the folks around the County, and most of our neighbours up and down Rednersville Road, have access to the internet now. So they sometimes visit our online antiques gallery, which is now filled with antiques and memorabilia.

Local folks and visitors from around the world read this Rednersville Loyalist news rag, or blog as the younger folks call it, where we post stories of interest to those who know Prince Edward County, or might like to. On this blog, we've posted stories about the loyalist history of the County and, closer to home, a story about the night this store was struck by lightning, an excerpt from a book by local author, photographer and storyteller, Janet Kellough, The Legendary Guide to Prince Edward County.

But there's something about the spoken word that makes storytelling so interesting. So it's our pleasure to spread the word about the County's own weekly podcast, featuring Janet Kellough and Don Edwards, The Prince Edward County Podcast. To listen to a "podcast" you don't need to have one of those iPod mp3 players the kids all want for Christmas, because you can listen to the stories on your computer by just clicking on a link. It's easy, and well worth a listen.

We really enjoyed Prince Edward County Podcast #4 -- Rum-Runners Edition, which features the voice of author C.W. Hunt describing where the booze came from, and one smuggler's hair-raising encounter with the U.S. Coast Guard. Then, Janet tells the tale of Main Duck Island and how one Milford family indirectly benefited from rum-running. The storytelling is captivating, and the production of the podcasts is very professional. We'll be listening to their podcasts every week, here in the comfort of our store, surrounded by antiques and memorabillia that evoke memories to complement these stories of Prince Edward County.

We should probably get together with Don and Janet to talk about some of the stories heard and told over the years in the Rednersville Country Store.

Jim Crow Collectibles & Black Memorabilia

As Rosa Parks is honored today, many Americans remember the fight for racial equality in their time, and the Jim Crow era is still part of their personal memories, or family histories. Increasingly, black memorabilia is in high demand among serious collectors.
Black Enterprise magazine and the Wall Street Journal have touted Black memorabilia as worthwhile investments. Essence, a leading Black magazine, even gave a short tutorial on how to shop for these items. Blacks are now as likely as Whites to collect Black memorabilia -- including racist memorabilia -- and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Spike Lee are avid collectors. Although some Blacks collect racist items as "investments," many Blacks, including Winfrey and Lee, collect the material to remind themselves and others of America's racist past. These collectors, regardless of their motivations, are exhausting the available supply of original Black-related items. The price of authentic Black-related memorabilia has escalated as fewer older pieces remain on the market. This escalation in prices has significant consequences: Jim Crow era artifacts are increasingly found in the elite collections of wealthy individuals or organizations, and the demand for cheaper Jim Crow styled items has spurred a flourishing reproductions market.
The Jim Crow era in the United States extended from the mid-1870s to the mid-1960s; consequently, most of the racist artifacts in the Ferris State University Jim Crow Museum were produced and distributed during that period.

Loyalist communities in Canada were safe havens for refugee slaves in the black history of the United States and Canada.
The Underground Railroad was not actually a train but rather a name given to a loosely organized system which helped fugitive slaves and free Blacks find freedom in Canada. On August 1, 1834, the British Imperial Act abolishing slavery went into effect in British controlled areas worldwide, including Canada. Since slavery continued in the United States, both Black and white abolitionists assisted Black people through providing them with financial support, directions, shelter, food or transportation. Later, the American Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 forced freedom-seeking African Americans, and often those who helped them, to leave the United States and enter Canada. The Underground Railroad ended after the American Civil War and the end of American slavery.

Our collections include excellent examples of rare Jim Crow collectibles and black memorabilia.