Saskatchewan church built by early black settlers receives heritage designation


MAIDSTONE, Sask. — For a small group of American black families escaping racist Jim Crow laws a century ago, building a church in their new home in Saskatchewan was a priority.

Completed in 1912, Shiloh Baptist Church, about 30 kilometres northwest of Maidstone, provided a place of worship and communal space for the homesteaders who had arrived only two years before.

The little building is made from poplar logs on a foundation of field stones. The pews are just benches, many also hewn from logs.

“The first time I walked in there it’s almost like I got hit in the gut with a fist. And I’m not a spiritual or a religious person by any means,” says Leander Lane, whose great-grandfather Julius Caesar Lane was among the community’s original families.

The church and its cemetery have just been…

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