Martin Luther King Jr. – A look back at the life of an American icon

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Ga., on Jan. 15, 1929. King was a Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and civil rights leader who practiced peaceful, nonviolent civil disobedience to protest racial inequality.

In 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. In 1965, he helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches, and the following year, he and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) took the movement north to Chicago to work on segregated housing. In the final years of his life, King expanded his focus to include opposition to poverty and the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled “Beyond Vietnam.”

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tenn., while planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., for the Poor People’s Campaign. Riots broke out in cities around the U.S. in response to King’s death. (AP)

Original Post

Shirley Chisholm

American politician and activist

Shirley Chisholm, 1972.Shirley Chisholm, 1972.Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Alternative Title: Shirley Anita St. Hill

Shirley Chisholm, née Shirley Anita St. Hill, (born November 30, 1924, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.—died January 1, 2005, Ormond Beach, Florida), American politician, the first African American woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress.

Shirley St. Hill was the daughter of immigrants; her father was from British Guiana (now Guyana) and her mother from Barbados. She grew up in Barbados and in her native Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Brooklyn College (B.A., 1946). While teaching nursery school and serving as director of the Friends Day Nursery in Brooklyn, she studied elementary education at Columbia University (M.A., 1952) and married Conrad Q. Chisholm in 1949 (divorced 1977). An education consultant for New York City’s day-care division, she was also active with community and political groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and her district’s Unity Democratic Club. In 1964–68 she represented her Brooklyn district in the New York state legislature.

In 1968 Chisholm was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating the civil rights leader James Farmer. In Congress she quickly became known as a strong liberal who opposed weapons development and the war in Vietnam and favoured full-employment proposals. As a candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. president in 1972, she won 152 delegates before withdrawing from the race.

Chisholm, a founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus, supported the Equal Rights Amendment and legalized abortions throughout her congressional career, which lasted from 1969 to 1983. She wrote the autobiographical works Unbought and Unbossed (1970) and The Good Fight (1973).

After her retirement from Congress, Chisholm remained active on the lecture circuit. She held the position of Purington Professor at Mount Holyoke College (1983–87) and was a visiting scholar at Spelman College (1985). In 1993 she was invited by President Bill Clinton to serve as ambassador to Jamaica but declined because of poor health. Chisholm was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

Prashad posted:

A great woman just like my girl Tulsi.

Chisholm would terrorize your buddies druggie, skeldon, Nehru and yuji. Strong black Guyanese women drive them into hysterical fright.  Chisholm was unbossed, unbought and drove many white men to tears.

Demerara_Guy posted:

Martin Luther King Jr. – A look back at the life of an American icon

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Ga., on Jan. 15, 1929. King was a Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and civil rights leader who practiced peaceful, nonviolent civil disobedience to protest racial inequality.

In 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. In 1965, he helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches, and the following year, he and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) took the movement north to Chicago to work on segregated housing. In the final years of his life, King expanded his focus to include opposition to poverty and the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled “Beyond Vietnam.”

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tenn., while planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., for the Poor People’s Campaign. Riots broke out in cities around the U.S. in response to King’s death. (AP)

I visited the MLK historic site and his boyhood home in Atlanta. Very educational.  

Valerie Amos, Baroness Amos


Early life

Amos was born in British Guiana (now Guyana) in South America and attended Bexley Technical High School for Girls (now Townley Grammar School), Bexleyheath, where she was the first black deputy head girl. She completed a degree in Sociology at the University of Warwick (1973–76), and also later took courses in cultural studies at the University of Birmingham and the University of East Anglia.


File:Valerie Amos DFID 2013.jpg

Valerie Ann Amos, Baroness Amos, CH,

Valerie Ann Amos, Baroness Amos, CH, PC (born 13 March 1954) is a British politician and diplomat who served as the eighth UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. Before her appointment to the UN, she served as British High Commissioner to Australia. She was created a Labour Life Peer in 1997, becoming Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council.

When Amos was appointed Secretary of State for International Development on 12 May 2003, following the resignation of Clare Short, she became the first black woman to sit in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. She left the Cabinet when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister. In July 2010 Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon announced Baroness Amos's appointment to the role of Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.[1] She took up the position on 1 September 2010 and remained in post until 29 May 2015. In September 2015 Amos was appointed Director of SOAS, University of London,[2] becoming the first black woman to lead a university in the United Kingdom.[3]

Early life

Amos was born in British Guiana (now Guyana) in South America and attended Bexley Technical High School for Girls (now Townley Grammar School), Bexleyheath, where she was the first black deputy head girl. She completed a degree in Sociology at the University of Warwick (1973–76), and also later took courses in cultural studies at the University of Birmingham and the University of East Anglia.

Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission

After working in Equal Opportunities, Training and Management Services in local government in the London boroughs of Lambeth, Camden and Hackney, Amos became Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission 1989–94.

In 1995 Amos co-founded Amos Fraser Bernard and was an adviser to the South African government on public service reform, human rights and employment equity.

Amos during the WEF 2013

Other positions

Amos has also been Deputy Chair of the Runnymede Trust (1990–98), a Trustee of the Institute for Public Policy Research, a non-executive Director of the University College London Hospitals Trust, a Trustee of Voluntary Services Overseas, Chair of the Afiya Trust, Member of the board of the Sierra Leone Titanium Resources Group, a director of Hampstead Theatre and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Royal College of Nursing Institute.

Her most recent appointment has been to be the 9th director of SOAS, the School of Oriental & African Studies, and coincidently makes her the first woman of African descent to be director of an institute of higher education in Great Britain. She began this role in September 2015.

House of Lords

Amos was elevated to the peerage in August 1997 as Baroness Amos, of Brondesbury in the London Borough of Brent.[4][5] In the House of Lords she was a co-opted member of the Select Committee on European Communities Sub-Committee F (Social Affairs, Education and Home Affairs) 1997–98. From 1998 to 2001 she was a Government Whip in the House of Lords and also a spokesperson on Social Security, International Development and Women's Issues as well as one of the Government's spokespersons in the House of Lords on Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Baroness Amos was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs on 11 June 2001, with responsibility for Africa; Commonwealth; Caribbean; Overseas Territories; Consular Issues and FCO Personnel. She was replaced by Chris Mullin.

International Development Secretary and Leader of the House of Lords

Baroness Amos was made International Development Secretary after the incumbent, Clare Short, resigned from the post in the run-up to the US and UK 2003 invasion of Iraq. Although she ostensibly worked in development, she toured African countries that held rotating membership of the Security Council, encouraging them to support the attack. Despite her efforts, the UK was not successful in establishing a legal basis for the war.

Baroness Amos was appointed Leader of the House of Lords on 6 October 2003, following the death of Lord Williams of Mostyn, which meant that her tenure as Secretary of State for International Development lasted less than six months.

On 17 February 2005, the British Government nominated Lady Amos to head the United Nations Development Programme.[6]

Non-Governmental roles

Baroness Amos left the cabinet when Gordon Brown took over as Prime Minister from Tony Blair in June 2007. Brown proposed her as the European Union special representative to the African Union.[7] However Belgian career diplomat Koen Vervaeke was appointed to this role instead. She was a member of the Committee on Commonwealth Membership, which presented its report on potential changes in membership criteria for the Commonwealth of Nations at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2007 in Kampala, Uganda.

On 8 October 2008 it was reported that Amos was to join the Football Association's management board for England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup. This was described as a "surprise appointment", since she has no recorded interest in football (despite her interest in cricket) or any experience in similar work such as the 2012 Olympics bid.[8]

British High Commissioner to Australia

On 4 July 2009 it was advised that Baroness Amos had been appointed British High Commissioner to Australia in succession to H.E. Helen Liddell (now Baroness Liddell).[9] Amos took up the position in October 2009.[10]

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator

In 2010 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Amos's appointment as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.[11] In March 2012 she visited Syria on behalf of the UN to press the Syrian government to allow access to all parts of Syria to help people affected by the 2011-2012 Syrian uprising.[12]

In 2015, World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan appointed Amos as member of the Advisory Group on Reform of WHO’s Work in Outbreaks and Emergencies with Health and Humanitarian Consequences.[13]

Honours and styles of address

Lady Amos was awarded an Honorary Professorship at Thames Valley University in 1995 in recognition of her work on equality and social justice. On 1 July 2010, Amos received an honorary doctorate (Hon DUniv) from the University of Stirling in recognition of her "outstanding service to our society and her role as a model of leadership and success for women today."[14] She has also been awarded the honorary degrees of Doctor of Laws (Hon LLD) from the University of Warwick in 2000 and the University of Leicester in 2006.

At the University of Birmingham, where she studied as an undergraduate, the Guild of Students have named one of the committee rooms "The Amos Room" after her, in acknowledgement of her services to society.

Amos was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to the United Nations and emergency relief.[15][16]

In 2017, Baroness Amos was awarded a honorary degree at Middlesex University, thereby "recognising achievement at the highest level as well as dedication to public duty and making a difference to others’ lives.”[17]

In July 2018, Baroness Amos received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Bristol.

Styles of address

  • 1954-1997: Miss Valerie Amos
  • 1997-2003: The Right Honourable The Baroness Amos
  • 2003-2009: The Right Honourable The Baroness Amos PC
  • 2009-2010: Her Excellency The Right Honourable The Baroness Amos PC
  • 2010-2016: The Right Honourable The Baroness Amos PC
  • 2016–present: The Right Honourable The Baroness Amos CH PC

Personal life

Amos is an enthusiast of cricket and talked about her love of the game with Jonathan Agnew on Test Match Special during the lunch break of the first day of the England v New Zealand test at Old Trafford in May 2008.[18][19]

After resigning from the cabinet, Baroness Amos took up a directorship with Travant Capital, a Nigerian private equity fund launched in 2007.[20] In the House of Lords Register of Members Interests she lists this directorship as remunerated. At launch over one third of Travant’s first equity fund came from CDC (a government-owned plc). The decision to invest in Travant by CDC was taken before Amos was appointed to the board of Travant.[21]

Baroness Amos has never married and has no children. She was listed as one of "the 50 best-dressed over-50s" by The Guardian in March 2013.[22]


  1. "New UN humanitarian chief among five senior officials appointed by Ban". UN News Centre. United Nations. 9 July 2010. Archived from the original on 10 July 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  2. "Valerie Amos to be ninth Director of SOAS, University of London". Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  3. The Guardian
  4. "No. 54906". The London Gazette. 30 September 1997. p. 11015.
  5. Mosley, Charles (ed.) (2003). Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 107th edn. London: Burke's Peerage & Gentry Ltd. p. 89 (AMOS, LP). ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  6. "Amos nominated for senior UN job", BBC News, 17 February 2005.
  7. "Amos leaves Government role for EU", Prime Minister's Office. Archived 19 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Kelso, Paul (7 October 2008). "Surprise as Baroness Amos joins 2018 World Cup bid". Daily Telegraph. London.
  9. FCO Historians website
  10. Change of British High Commissioner to Australia British High Commission Canberra, 26 October 2009.
  11. "Secretary-General Appoints Valerie Amos of United Kingdom Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs". United Nations. 9 July 2010.
  12. Siddique, Haroon (9 March 2012). "Syria live updates". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  13. Members of the Advisory Group on Reform of WHO’s Work in Outbreaks and Emergencies with Health and Humanitarian Consequences Archived 18 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine World Health Organization.
  14. "Happiness is University shaped at Stirling’s summer graduations", University of Stirling, 9 June 2010.
  15. "No. 61608". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2016. p. B27.
  16. "Birthday Honours 2016: the Foreign Secretary's overseas list for the Order of the Companions of Honour, Knight Bachelor and British Empire" (PDF). GOV.UK. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  17. Baroness Amos awarded honorary degree at Middlesex University - website of Middlesex University
  18. "TMS starts the series in style", BBC Sport, 20 May 2008.
  19. "From the Commons to Lord's", BBC Sport, 7 July 2008.
  20. The Board Archived 6 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Travant Capital.
  21. Walker, Kirsty (13 January 2009). "Ex-minister Baroness Amos lands job with firm given £15m government handout". Mail Online. London.
  22. Cartner-Morley, Jess; Mirren, Helen; Huffington, Arianna; Amos, Valerie (28 March 2013). "The 50 best-dressed over-50s". The Guardian. London.

Source --,-Baroness-Amos

Lauren Holter, Yahoo Lifestyle 9 hours ago, February 04, 2019, , Source, Trump asked her followers to remember “that our nation is stronger, better, and wiser for the contributions of black people” throughout history. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Ivanka Trump was criticized on Twitter over the weekend for posting that “Black History is American History.”

The first daughter and White House advisor asked her followers to remember “that our nation is stronger, better, and wiser for the contributions of black people” throughout history. But people quickly jumped in to ask if she remembered who her father is.

The Trump administration doesn’t have any black senior White House officials, as the majority of the president’s advisors are white, CNN reported last year. President Donald Trump’s only black senior advisor, Omarosa Manigault Newman, published a book after leaving last January in which she called the president “racist.” 

“It had finally sunk in that the person I’d thought I’d known so well for so long was actually a racist. Using the N-word was not just the way he talks but, more disturbing, it was how he thought of me and African Americans as a whole,” Manigault Newman wrote in her memoir, per The Guardian

Twitter users also pointed out that the president pushed the birther conspiracy that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States. Former First Lady Michelle Obama wrote in her memoir that she’ll never forgive him for promoting the bigoted conspiracy theory. 

As many have said ‘Black History is American History.’
To honor Black History Month, let’s remember that our nation is stronger, better, and wiser for the contributions of black people throughout this country’s history.

La Fourchette @lafourchette

🧐 (has she suffered a head injury that has gone unreported and not remember who her father is?) 

As many have said ‘Black History is American History.’
To honor Black History Month, let’s remember that our nation is stronger, better, and wiser for the contributions of black people throughout this country’s history.

giggly @madhouswife

Where does Birther theory fit into this picture sweetie 

As many have said ‘Black History is American History.’

To honor Black History Month, let’s remember that our nation is stronger, better, and wiser for the contributions of black people throughout this country’s history.

Tony Posnanski @tonyposnanski
Might want to sit this one out with your pops in charge. 


As many have said ‘Black History is American History.’

To honor Black History Month, let’s remember that our nation is stronger, better, and wiser for the contributions of black people throughout this country’s history.

Richard ‘muh deficit’ Kiester @neverloggedoff
We know. Go tell your dad and his buddy Steven Miller.
Molly Jong-Fast, @MollyJongFast
Her dad and brother may be huge racists but that doesn’t mean that @IvankaTrump can’t use “black history month” as an opportunity to launder her brand.


However, Ivanka had supporters as well.

As many have said ‘Black History is American History.’

To honor Black History Month, let’s remember that our nation is stronger, better, and wiser for the contributions of black people throughout this country’s history.

Janet Cates 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 @JanetCates2

Thank you!!! 


As many have said ‘Black History is American History.’

To honor Black History Month, let’s remember that our nation is stronger, better, and wiser for the contributions of black people throughout this country’s history.

Ugochukwu Ofili @UgoCentRiC
Right on! God blessed America! 


Ivanka wasn’t the only family member whose Black History Month tweet received backlash — First Lady Melania Trump’s post was picked apart a few days prior. Like Ivanka, Melania was asked by Twitter users to remind the president about Black History Month.

Melania Trump @FLOTUS
February is . Let us come together in celebration of our diversity to remember our past and look towards our future. 

Reflection is essential as Guyana celebrates Black History Month – By Yvonne Sam

History is a Weapon. History is to the nation as memory is to an individual.

As we begin to celebrate Black History Month in Canada and America, (not England), now more than ever Guyana needs to look at her history with an air of profound reflection and introspection. With the country as racially divided as it is now, does Black History hold any significance? Any display of racial identity or racial reference is oftentimes met with derision, suspicion or plain condemnation. Hence Black History Month or any celebration thereof smacks of a denial of ethno racial identity. Let it not be overlooked or forgotten that Black History Month emanated in the United States of America  from an acknowledgement of Black as a marker of racial identity.     

Despite having its foundation in the United States, Black History Month has been embraced by the worldwide black diaspora on account of its role in showcasing the contributions in history. The Father of Black History Month Carter G. Woodson realized that not only were the contributions of African Americans overlooked, ignored  and repressed by the writers of history textbooks but also by the pedagogues who used them. In addition, peoples of African descent remained visibly absent from any intellectual discourse or scholarship that dealt with human civilization. In fact, Blacks were so dehumanized and their history so perverted that slavery, peonage (debt slavery), lynching and segregation were deemed acceptable conditions.

In an endeavor to counteract this apparent ignorance and intentional distortion of Black History, Negro History week was put in motion on a serious platform in 1926, under the direction of Carver Woodson  and contributions from other African American and white scholars.  In the late 1960’s it matured to become Black History Month, finally being designated as such by the United States Government in 1976.

So by extension Guyana and other Caribbean islands will acknowledge and celebrate Black History Month, but should they really?    On a note of irony, Woodson writing on the issue of West Indian/ American relations, expressed the sentiment  that “ The West Indian negro is free” and that West Indian societies had been more successful (than America) at properly devoting the necessary amounts of time and resources needed to educate and genuinely emancipate people. Is the nation’s celebration just another example of the adoption of slavish things originating in what we believe to be a superior civilization? The poignant and persistent question remains: What should Guyana celebrate? Really and truly do we need to adopt and adapt what was from the outset an American concept to observe and highlight the achievements of Blacks there?  My response is a resounding No! This is a striking example of One size not fitting or befitting All.

The American government both recognize and celebrate Black History Month, and during the month of February schools in general focus and refocus on African History.

In spite of certain similarities, the American experience was very much different from ours. The celebration of the achievements of African people and people of colour should not be restricted to a month-long period nor on the other hand be marginalized as a historical exception.  What is needed is an ongoing education about the culture and successes of people of African origin wherever they have made an impact across the globe. A mature democracy is tasked with not only commemorating its triumphs but also recognizing its miscarriages. We should aim to create a narrative for our citizens that tell the whole story, warts and all.

The focus on biography has become a theoretical or imaginary prison, and the celebration of heroes has at times restricted our idea of what black history might be. There is no doubt that Black History as celebrated during Black History Month has helped many Guyanese children understand their place within the Guyanese story. Every February it provides reporters, broadcaster, teachers, government officials etc. with a topical hook on which to hang stories about Black people that might otherwise go untold. Undoubtedly, in Guyana there will be displays and lectures amidst a plethora of Black inventions and Black firsts, some or most of them being mere regurgitated facts . The contributions of well=known Blacks like Martin Luther king, Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks etc. will be rehashed ad infinitum.  What about other Black, West Indian and Guyanese figures? Black Guyanese history is our joint history and it should be much more than the search for and the defense of black heroes.

Black History 2019 should go down in history as the final call for a clear headed and controlled reflection on the state of the community. A legitimate discourse on, and recognition of, our ethnic diversity yet calls, for as a nation we would only be able to with due respect observe the significance of Black history within the context of an acceptance. As African Guyanese lead the way in becoming submerged in Black History, all Guyanese should learn Black History, which by now should have found its way into school curricula. As a nation we should have an education about the culture and successes of people of African origin wherever they have made an impact across the globe.  We now dwell in a truly global community and thanks to modern technology are kept abreast of world development, therefore our views are no longer skewered. Beyond national observances, every member of the populace needs to be looking toward their common future—It is time to begin the conversation about the future of Guyana. What will it look like in 2030 or 2100?”.

How will we gauge success?—Black History Month is successful only when it is repetitious – when our history is understood by us all, and young people gain the pride and self-assurance that a genuine account of it would afford.

By guyaneseonline, on February 4, 2019 at 12:12 am, Guyanese Online,

CUFFY -- 1763 Monument

A monument to Cuffy, a rebellious enslaved person who became a national hero in Guyana.  

Georgetown, Guyana

Source --

The 1763 Monument proudly stands in the Square of the Revolution in the Guyanese capital of Georgetown. Unveiled in 1976, it commemorates the Berbice Slave Rebellion of 1763, a major event in Guyana’s anti-colonial struggles.

On February 23, 1763, a slave revolt broke out in the Dutch colony of Berbice in what is now Guyana. At the time, the colony consisted of approximately 350 white colonists, 250 enslaved indigenous people, and almost 4,000 black enslaved people. Should a rebellion gain any traction, the colonial rulers would therefore find themselves in no small amount of trouble. And that’s exactly what happened.

The uprising began on the Magdalenenberg Plantation, in protest of the inhumane treatment of the enslaved people by their colonial masters. The main house and outbuildings were torched, and the rebels moved on to one plantation after another, liberating other enslaved Africans who then joined the spreading rebellion.

At the Lilienburg Plantation, a house enslaved person named Cuffy (variously Coffy, Kofi or Koffi) of West African origin joined the revolt. He became the leader of the rebellion, training the rebel forces to fight as a unit against the Dutch militia. He took the wife of the manager of Plantation Bearestyn as his wife, and soon declared himself Governor of Berbice.

Despite taking control of Berbice, Cuffy and the rebellion were ultimately undone by internal conflict. Cuffy had selected a man named Akara as his deputy, but Akara was a more aggressive leader and disapproved of Cuffy’s attempts to establish a truce and make terms with the Dutch. Akara formed a group to oppose Cuffy, and when Cuffy lost he took his own life. About a year after the start of the rebellion, troops from neighboring French and British colonies arrived to assist the Dutch and the rebellion was defeated.

Despite this defeat, Cuffy became a national hero of Guyana, and a symbol of the fight against colonial powers. In 1976, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Guyana’s independence, a statue of Cuffy was unveiled on the Square of the Revolution in the Guyanese capital of Georgetown. The statue is officially called the 1763 Monument, but is often referred to as the Cuffy Monument.

The statue, which stands at 15 feet tall and weighs two and a half tons, was designed by Guyanese sculptor Philip Moore and cast in England by the Morris Singer Foundry.

The figure of Cuffy bears many symbols: his pouting mouth is a sign of defiance; the face on his chest is a symbolic breastplate giving protection in battle; and the horned faces on his thighs represent revolutionaries from Guyanese history, including Quamina from the Demerara rebellion of 1823. In his hands he holds a pig and a dog, each being throttled, the pig representing ignorance, and the dog covetousness and greed.

Know Before You Go

The 1763 Monument is located in the Square of the Revolution in the center of Georgetown, between Homestretch Avenue, Vlissingen Road and Hadfield Street.

Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow OBE

Father of the Trade Union Movement in Guyana

April 15, 2014, Source -- http://www.guyaneseachievers.c...nathaniel-critchlow/

Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow

He is well known as the father of the Trade Union movement in Guyana.. He established the British Guiana Labour Union, the first successful trade union in the colony in January 1919. He lived through two world wars. A statue in his honour stands on the grounds of Parliament Buildings, in Georgetown.

This profile is based on information obtained from these internet websites: 
1. This contains a tribute by Mellissa Ifill, headed. ‘Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow and the birth of the Trade Union Movement in Guyana’ published in Stabroek News of May 3, 2001.
2. This features the book ‘The Guyana Story’ (From Earliest Times to Independence), published in 2005. It contains 182 chapters, of which chapters 96 and 97 are devoted to Critchlow –headed ‘Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow: The early years’ and ‘Critchlow in the workers’ struggle’, respectively.

‘The Guyana Story’ is a monumental work among others written by His Excellency Dr Odeen Ishmael, Guyanese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the State of Kuwait. The statement below appears under the title:

‘The Guyana Story is a collection of short essays which attempt to relate the story of the Guyanese people in a generally chronological order. It is obvious that not all the details of the periods described are included, but the aim of the author is to build an awareness among young Guyanese in particular, of the rich heritage of the people of Guyana.

‘It is hoped, too, that The Guyana Story will encourage readers to do further research into various aspects of Guyanese history. By knowing about our past, we will be in a better position to understand and appreciate the present.’

Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow was born in Georgetown on the 18 December 1884. His father James Nathaniel Critchlow had emigrated from Barbados and was employed by the Bookers company as a wharf foreman. His mother was Julia Elizabeth, nee Daniels, from Essequibo.

Hubert attended the Bedford Wesleyan Primary School. He was in Standard 4 (equivalent to Grade 6 in American schools), when his father died. He was only 13 years old then and he decided to leave school and start to work to help maintain his home. He started to work as an apprentice at the Demerara Foundry. Later he became a dock worker on the waterfront.

At school, he was good at sports and he continued to be so, well into his twenties. He became a popular sports figure in the country during the period 1905-1914 when he was the country’s middle-distance athletic champion. He was also a good footballer and cricketer.

Hubert grew up in a world where rights for workers as we know today were not even a pipe dream. Workers pay and living conditions were not matters for negotiation. Trade Unionism had not been established for too long in Britain and America.

When Hubert was a young man, the European powers with their policies to expand their empires and control territory, drove themselves headlong into a war of all wars, the Great War, known as the First World War. In that world, British Guiana was a tiny pawn, the government of which together with big businesses operated to suit the needs of Great Britain the imperial power. In that world, inequality reigned supreme, employers in their castle, and workers in their hovel.

In British Guiana in the early 1900s working and living conditions for workers were horrendous. Those fortunate to find work at a time of high unemployment faced a long working day for low wages and rising cost of living. In Georgetown many people lived in shantytowns with poor water supply, little or no drainage or garbage disposal. Disease was rampant, infant mortality rates were high and life expectancy low. No organization existed to make representation to employers on behalf of their workers to secure better wages and improved working conditions.

The sheer injustices and inhumanity meted out to workers drove them from time to time to strike out in total desperation, to risk their livelihood and their safety, in a basic human instinct for survival, in order to better their lot, but to no avail. When workers protested in Georgetown and in the countryside for better pay and working conditions, the government sided with the employers and quelled workers’ demonstrations with military force. Some protesters were even killed. Government did not see it as their role to have laws about income and hours of work, or grant recognition to organised labour unions.

Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow was 21 years old in 1905 when as a dock worker on the waterfront, he actively spoke up for his fellow workers during a strike in Georgetown, He became popular and the seed was planted then for the birth of the trade Union movement in Guyana.‘Cometh the Hour Cometh the Man.’

Mellissa Ifill, in her tribute, referred to above, describing the poor working and living conditions in the country in the early 1900s stated inter alia:

‘Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow stands tall as the most important figure in the birth and growth of the labour movement in British Guiana. He was dedicated and determined, as were his lieutenants, to bring an end to the horrific and depressed conditions that the working-class people in the colony of British Guiana were forced to endure…

‘The immediate origins of the trade union movement can, however, be traced to a strike by waterfront workers for increased wages in November and December 1905 in Georgetown, which was led by Critchlow. These workers faced opposition from the uncompromising shipping companies, and, the conflict between the shipping companies and the workers that had deteriorated into rioting and bloodshed was eventually settled after the British troops had been summoned. At an address to the World Trade Union Conference in 1945, Critchlow detailed the workers’ woes and demands in the 1905 strike that had ultimately failed.

“Our working hours were 10 1/2. The system of a quarter day existed. There was no overtime for night work. We asked the employers to change these conditions. The reply was that we must take them or go. I organized a strike on the waterfront in December 1905. Our aims were for an increase of pay, which was very low. Truckers (called boys although adult men) made two shillings a day. They could scarcely get a whole day’s work, taking cargo to the barn.

“There was no trade union, and the employers refused. So I got the working men, boys together, and they agreed that when there were six boats in the harbour they must strike. A great thing and at that time I did not know that all the estates in the country followed us and struck on account of low wages.”

‘It was Critchlow’s participation and role in this strike that catapulted him into the public eye and gave him added authority and credibility as a workers leader. The failure of this 1905 strike, which was partially due to the organizational weakness of the workers, clearly demonstrated to Critchlow that there was a pressing need for a trade union in the colony…’

The first world war made matters worse for working people. Although many strikes during the war years were unsuccessful, there were some gains. The waterfront strike in January 1917 yielded a 10% increase in wages, and a reduction of daily working hours from 10 and a half hours to 9 hours. A strike in December 1917 yielded another 10% increase in wages.

Critchlow became the undisputed leader of waterfront workers and workers generally but 
he soon paid the price when he led a petition in 1917-18, for an 8-hour working day. The Chamber of Commerce pressured him to withdraw his name from the petition. He refused to do so. He was immediately fired from his job on March 1918, and blacklisted from obtaining employment.

Being unemployed, he devoted his time and energies to the campaign for an 8-hour work day. In December 1918, he led a small delegation of workers to the Governor, Sir Wilfred Colet. After this meeting he decided that the way forward was through a trade union, and he immediately started to make arrangements for its formation. The British Guiana Labour Union (BGLU), the first successful trade union in the colony was eventually established on the 11 January 1919. Critchlow had received support from all over the country and abroad, particularly from trade unions in Britain.

Critchlow was employed on a full time basis by the union. He was Secretary / Treasurer with a salary of $20 per month. His salary was increased to $120 in 1920 in order to satisfy the income qualification for a seat in the Combined court, the ‘parliament’ at the time. There he could make political representations on behalf of workers. He never stopped being a spokesman for the workers. He publicised their grievances and demanded improved working conditions and better wages for them.

The union experienced numerous problems in its early years. Employers saw it as a force aimed at fomenting industrial unrest, and issued threats to workers who were union members. Despite this, its membership grew rapidly. By the end of its first year, it had more than 7,000 financial members comprising waterfront workers, tradesmen, sea defence and road workers, railroad workers, balata bleeders and miners, some Government employees and hundreds of sugar estate labourers. Branches of the union were also set up in various parts of the country. By January 1920, there were 13000 members, and the unions savings were $9700.

The Union gained many improvements including: the elimination of night and Sunday labour in bakeries, a number of salary increases, and the appointment of a commission to look into the living conditions, salaries and any other circumstance affecting stevedores. One of the most significant achievements was legal recognition for trade unions in June 1921. This recognition was achieved with the support of the Colonial Office in London and the British Labour Party.

Dr Ishmael in ‘Critchlow in the Workers’ Struggle’ stated inter alia:

‘A serious unemployment crisis developed in the early 1920s, following the end of the World War, and there were strikes and riots in Georgetown in 1924. Since similar problems occurred in the British West Indies, a strong solidarity among the trade unions was forged in all the territories. A number of West Indian labour conferences also took place, and the BGLU played a leading role in all of them. During this period, Critchlow served as Secretary-Treasurer of the union; C. T. Andrews was elected President of the union in 1922.

‘Spearheaded by Critchlow, the union also campaigned vigorously for the reduction of rents in Georgetown. At that time, most workers, particularly those on the waterfront, lived in rented buildings in the city. When a rent reduction was won in 1922, a committee of tenants designated the 3 July 1922 as “Critchlow Day.”

Trade unionism was now firmly established in the colony and the BGLU expanded its international links. Critchlow represented the union at the British Commonwealth Labour Conference in 1924, 1925 and 1930 in England. The British Caribbean and West Indian Labour Conference was inaugurated in Georgetown in 1926, and Critchlow was a leading representative at this, and at subsequent conferences. In 1938, he was elected to the position of Assistant Secretary of the Conference.

His experience in the workers’ struggle, led Critchlow to the view that the established capitalist system was not bringing benefits to the working class. In December 1930, in an address to members of the union, he called for workers to fight against capitalism, as practised by the employers, and to struggle for the establishment of socialism.

In 1931, he travelled to Germany to represent the union at the International Committee of Trade Union Workers Conference. In 1932, on an invitation from the trade union movement of the Soviet Union, he visited Russia. On his return, he spoke of the benefits Russian workers were receiving. The local press attacked him and called him a “Red, a Communist and a Bolshevik.”

A number of Unions were formed to represent workers in various areas, and in 1941the British Guiana Trades’ Union Council (TUC) was established, with Critchlow as its first General Secretary. By 1943, 14 unions were affiliated to this umbrella body which, shortly after, joined the World Federation of Trades Unions (WFTU).

Critchlow also championed demands for the extension of the right to vote so that all workers could participate in national elections. Some leaders of other unions also agitated for this cause.

In 1943, Critchlow and Ayube Edun, of the Man Power Citizens’ Association (MPCA), which was formed a few years before, were nominated by the Governor to represent workers in the Legislative Council. In 1944, Critchlow was appointed to the Executive Council (the Governor’s Cabinet), and he served in this position until 1947. He also served as the Government’s nominee on the Georgetown City Council from December 1945 to December 1950.

In the 1947 elections, Critchlow contested and won the South Georgetown constituency. However as a result of an election petition, his election was declared null and void, and he was barred from contesting for a seat in the Legislative Council for five years. It was during these elections that Dr. Cheddi Jagan was first elected to the Legislative Council.

In 1948, with the advent of the Cold War, the WFTU was split. The TUC withdrew from it and joined the pro-West break-away group, the International Confederation of Free Trades Unions (ICFTU). Critchlow represented the TUC at the ICFTU conference in London in 1949, and was elected as a “substitute” member of the Executive Council to represent the West Indian group. Later in the year he attended an International Confederation of Workers meeting in Havana, Cuba.

Despite his increased administrative and official Government duties, Critchlow continued to actively represent workers in various parts of the country. In 1950, the Government appointed an Advisory Committee to examine cost of living issues and to make recommendations. These included a minimum wage of $1.52 per day, but Critchlow, who was a member of the Committee, issued a minority report calling for a minimum wage of $2.00 per day.

Dr Ishmael continued. ‘For his outstanding public service, he was awarded the medal of Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by King George VI in 1951. On the following year, he resigned as General Secretary of both the BGLU and the TUC, but he served on the Arbitration Panel that examined the wage dispute for waterfront workers in Grenada. After this period, he was generally not invited to activities organised by the TUC. During the 1957 May Day parade, a contingent of workers led by Dr. Cheddi Jagan saw Critchlow standing by his gate to watch the parade. Dr. Jagan broke ranks and walked over to the gate and took him to march at the head of the parade. Later, at the demands of the workers, he was allowed to address the May Day rally.

‘While Critchlow served as General Secretary of the TUC, May Day (1 May) was observed annually by unionised workers with marches and rallies. He made regular demands during his annual address to workers for the day to be declared a public holiday, but this was not achieved until 1958.

‘This outstanding working class leader died on the 10 May 1958 at the age of 74 years. In 1963, at the request of Dr. Jagan, who was then the Premier, the famous Guyanese artist E.R. Burrows sculpted a statue of Critchlow. This (bronze) statue was later placed (on a two-metre high pedestal) on the grounds of Parliament Buildings.’ Critchlow statue on the lawns of Parliament Building

The Hubert Critchlow statue on the lawns of the compound of Parliament Building was unveiled on December 2, 1964 by the then Premier, Dr. Cheddi Jagan. It is a tribute to Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow, the father of the Trade Union movement in Guyana.


We acknowledge with grateful thanks the information provided in various publications by well known writers, journalists and photographers.

Websites accessed April 15 2014 images).
April 15, 2014

Mathieu Da Costa

History Canada --

Image: Mathieu Da Costa (courtesy Dr. Henry Bishop/Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia)

Mathieu Da Costa is one of the most fascinating (and elusive) figures in early Canadian history. We don't know a lot about him. But we do know enough to know that he qualifies as the first Black known to have visited Canada. Da Costa was a free Black African who in the early 1600s was employed as a translator by French and Dutch traders and explorers.

It was not unusual for Africans to act as translators for Europeans as it had been going on for 100 years before Champlain's time as Europeans explored their way down the African coast. This explains why Da Costa spoke French, Dutch, and Portuguese. But it is a mystery how Da Costa knew how to be an interpreter with the First Nations of America. He might have used "pidgin" Basque (a mixture of Basque and local), commonly used for trade in the Americas. (The Basques of northern Spain were frequent visitors to the fishery along the Atlantic coast.) This dialect was understood by the Mi'kmaq and Montagnais (who lived along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River). But it is also possible that Da Costa had previously spent time in the Americas and had learned the languages of one or more of the Aboriginal peoples.

The only real historical "fact" that we have about Mathieu Da Costa is a document showing that he was in Holland in February 1607. Apparently the Dutch had kidnapped him from the French. The following year, 1608, Da Costa signed a contract in Amsterdam that committed him to sail with or on behalf of Pierre Du Gua de Monts as an interpreter on voyages to Canada and Acadia.

Da Costa's contract with Du Gua de Monts was to last for three years and it paid a considerable salary. We can thus assume that Da Costa accompanied Du Gua de Monts and Samuel de Champlain on one or more of their voyages to Acadia and the St Lawrence area.

The next bit of information that we have is evidence that Da Costa was put in prison in Le Havre, France, in December 1609. We don't know why but there were references to "insolences" suggesting that Da Costa had an independent spirit and spoke his mind.

Da Costa's appearance in Canada is commemorated at the Port-Royal National Historic Site, in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. The Mathieu Da Costa Challenge is an annual creative writing and artwork contest launched in 1996. The Challenge "encourages youth to discover how diversity has shaped Canada's history and the important role that pluralism plays in Canadian society."

Canadian Black History - An Interactive Experience
Search for clues about Black Canadian history in this interactive online treasure hunt presented by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Arrival of Exodusters

Black History, Canada --

Image: "Negro Exodusters en route to Kansas, fleeing from the yellow fever," Photomural from engraving. Harpers Weekly, 1870 (courtesy Historic American Building Survey Field Records, HABS FN-6, #KS-49-11 Prints and Photographs Division)

When the Civil War ended in the United States, Blacks in the South experienced renewed racial oppression after the last Federal troops left in 1877. A former slave named Benjamin "Pap" Singleton urged Blacks to leave the South to form their own independent communities in the West. Many saw Kansas as the ideal destination and others moved farther north all the way into Canada. They called themselves "Exodusters," because they saw the West as the promised land of the Bible.

A number of African Canadians lived on the Prairies, including Alberta, early in the 19th century. John Ware is one of the best known; arriving in 1882 from Texas, he was among the first cowboys in Alberta. He is credited with introducing longhorn cattle to the province. His knowledge and skill with livestock have been commemorated by the preservation of his homestead near Brooks, 185 km southeast of Calgary, and several natural sites being named after him.

The first significant Black migration into Alberta took place with the arrival of the "Exodusters." They had fled the Southern States in 1879, heading for homesteading lands in Kansas; they were familiar with farming in dry or dusty conditions. In the neighbouring state of Oklahoma, Blacks were increasingly finding that the laws made it impossible to live as equals.

A small group came to Alberta to investigate the potential for a good home and sent back favourable reports in 1910. Black Oklahomans, increasingly alarmed following a series of Ku Klux Klan lynchings, by 1911 felt they had to seek a more tolerant area in which to live. They had noticed a Canadian government invitation to mid-western American settlers to come to Alberta and to accept inexpensive land. However, the invitation was clearly not meant for them. In fact everything short of passing laws to exclude Black immigration to Canada was carried out, but the Exodusters were determined, in excellent health, and possessed the basic funds required by law. They eventually settled in communities stretching from western Alberta to the Thunder Bay area.

Blacks in deep snow: black pioneers in Canada
The full text of an informative book about the challenges faced by Black pioneers in Canada. Click on "Dark Spots in Alberta." Note: text includes outdated references to African Canadian people. From the Our Roots website.

Deemed Unsuitable: Black Pioneers in Western Canada
About the harsh challenges that faced many Black pioneers in Canada. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Plains Folk: Prairie Prejudice
An article about the prejudicial intolerance encountered by "exodusters" from Kansas who settled in Alberta in the early 20th century. From the website for North Dakota State University.

The Settlement of Oklahoma Blacks in Western Canada
An article about the difficulties faced by Black settlers who migrated from the US to western Canada before World War I. From the website.

Blacks: Early Settlements
An article about Blacks who made their way to Canada to escape racial injustice in the US. From The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan.

How they kept Canada almost lily white
An article about Canadian immigration policies aimed at stopping African Americans from migrating to Canada. Includes digitized copies of related archival documents. From the Some Missing Pages website.

The Exodus to Freedom
Scroll down the page for a brief comment by Frederick Douglass who laments the exodus of African Americans from the US South to the "promised land" of Kansas. From the National Park Service in the US.

The Quest for Land and Freedom on Canada
This article chronicles the migration of African Americans from Oklahoma to Alberta and Saskatchewan. From the website

Black History Month
This site is devoted to the annual celebration of Canada’s Black History Month. See profiles of notable Black Canadians and videos that highlight many of the Black community's outstanding contributions to our shared history and heritage. From Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Samuel Archibald Anthony Hinds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Source -

Sam Hinds

Samuel Archibald Anthony Hinds (born 27 December 1943)[1] is a Guyanese politician who was Prime Minister of Guyana almost continuously from 1992 to 2015. He also briefly served as President of Guyana in 1997. He was awarded Guyana's highest national award, the Order of Excellence (O.E.) in 2011.

He first became Prime Minister under Cheddi Jagan in 1992, following the October 1992 election, which was won by an alliance of the People's Progressive Party (PPP) and Hinds' group, Civic. When Jagan died in March 1997, Hinds became President himself, and appointed Jagan's widow Janet as Prime Minister. For the December 1997 General Elections, the PPP/C nominated Hinds as candidate for Prime Minister while Janet Jagan was the candidate for the Presidency. Following the election, Jagan was elected President and re-appointed Hinds as Prime Minister.

Prior to this Hinds worked for Alcan as head of chemical engineering. By education, Hinds is a licensed and qualified chemical engineer, having graduated from the University of New Brunswick.

In August 1999, President Janet Jagan decided to resign, and temporarily replaced Hinds with Bharrat Jagdeo; Jagdeo thus became President upon her resignation, and he reappointed Hinds as Prime Minister. After the re-election of the government in the 28 August 2006 election, Hinds was sworn in as prime minister again in early September.

He was re-nominated as the 2011 prime ministerial candidate for the PPP in October 2011, although there were suggestions that he might step aside.[citation needed] After PPP/C candidate Donald Ramotar was elected President, Hinds was sworn in as Prime Minister again on 5 December 2011.[2]

Following the opposition's victory in the May 2015 general election, Hinds was succeeded as Prime Minister by Moses Nagamootoo on 20 May 2015.[3]

Sam Hinds is honored in the scientific name of a species of lizard, Kaieteurosaurus hindsi.[



Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Hinds", p. 124).

Demerara_Guy posted:

Arrival of Exodusters

Black History, Canada --

communities stretching from western Alberta to the Thunder Bay area.


Plains Folk: Prairie Prejudice
An article about the prejudicial intolerance encountered by "exodusters" from Kansas who settled in Alberta in the early 20th century. From the website for North Dakota State University.


How they kept Canada almost lily white
An article about Canadian immigration policies aimed at stopping African Americans from migrating to Canada. Includes digitized copies of related archival documents. From the Some Missing Pages website.


And so now you admit Canada's racist treatment towards blacks.  I told you this a month ago and you screamed that I should look at history.

This is why many of those who fled to Canada after slavery ended in Canada in 1838 and before slavery ended in the USA in 1865 returned to the USA.  Both societies were racist so it made sense to return to the one with a more favorable climate.

caribny posted:
Demerara_Guy posted:

Arrival of Exodusters

Black History, Canada --

communities stretching from western Alberta to the Thunder Bay area.

Plains Folk: Prairie Prejudice
An article about the prejudicial intolerance encountered by "exodusters" from Kansas who settled in Alberta in the early 20th century. From the website for North Dakota State University.

How they kept Canada almost lily white
An article about Canadian immigration policies aimed at stopping African Americans from migrating to Canada. Includes digitized copies of related archival documents. From the Some Missing Pages website.

And so now you admit Canada's racist treatment towards blacks.  I told you this a month ago and you screamed that I should look at history.

This is why many of those who fled to Canada after slavery ended in Canada in 1838 and before slavery ended in the USA in 1865 returned to the USA.  Both societies were racist so it made sense to return to the one with a more favorable climate.

Indeed you not only have to look at history but also take the time to grasp issues in context, time lines and relevance.

My statements related to the specific issues of the slaves who were saved and protected by various Canadian agencies in numerous regions.

The issue of racial discrimination/intolerance existed, is and will always be an issue anywhere in the world.

Black History Canada -- 1600 - 1700

Source --

Image: Slave traders packed ships with as many slaves as could be carried.

1605: First Black in Canada
The first named Black person to set foot on Canadian soil was Mathieu Da Costa, a free man who was hired as a translator for Samuel de Champlain's 1605 excursion.

20 August 1619: BNA's First Blacks Arrive at Jamestown
The first shipload of African slaves to reach British North America landed at Jamestown in 1619.

1628: Slave Boy, First Black Resident of New France
The first named enslaved African to reside in Canada was a six-year-old boy, the property of Sir David Kirke. The child was sold several times, lastly to Father Paul Le Jeune, and was baptized Catholic and given the name Olivier Le Jeune.

King Louis XIV [courtesy Library and Archives Canada
Image: King Louis XIV (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-107650).

March 1685: Code Noir
In 1685, Louis XIV's Code Noir code permitted slavery for economic purposes only and established strict guidelines for the ownership and treatment of slaves. It was officially limited to the West Indies and, although it was never proclaimed in New France, it was used in customary law.

1 May 1689: Louis XIV Gives Slavery Limited Approval in New France
King Louis XIV of France gave limited permission for the colonists of New France to keep Black and Pawnee Indian slaves. The colonists had complained about the shortage of available servants and workers and appealed to the Crown for permission to own slaves.

Black History Canada -- 1700 - 1800

Source --

Image: Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac.

1701: Slaves Put to Work at Cadillac's Fort Pontchartrain
In 1701, the ambitious French fur-trader and colonizer Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac established Fort Pontchartrain on the shores of the Detroit River. Black slaves were among its first inhabitants.

1709: Louis XIV Formally Authorizes Slavery in New France
King Louis XIV formally authorized slavery in 1709, when he permitted his Canadian subjects to own slaves, "in full proprietorship." There were fewer slave-owners in New France than in the neighbouring English colonies, and few French colonists openly questioned the long-standing practice.

Marie-Joseph Angélique set fire to her owner's house in order to cover her escape [courtesy Black Studies Centre, Montreal).
Image: Marie-Joseph Angélique set fire to her owner's house in order to cover her escape (courtesy Black Studies Centre, Montreal)

Spring 1734: Angélique Tortured and Hanged
Marie-Joseph Angélique allegedly set fire to her master's house and destroyed nearly 50 homes. She was tortured and hanged as an object lesson for all Blacks.

1760: Provisions for Preserving Slave Ownership in Articles of Capitulation
When the British conquered New France in 1760, the Articles of Capitulation stated that Blacks and Pawnee Indians would remain slaves.

7 November 1775: Lord Dunmore's Declaration
With armed rebellion inevitable, Virginia's Governor Lord Dunmore declared martial law in his colony and decreed that  "every person capable of bearing arms" including "indentured servants, negroes, or others" must report for duty.  More than 300 Black men joined the "Ethiopian Regiment."

Watercolour by Robert Petley, courtesy Library and Archives Canada
Image: After the War of 1812, over 500 Black people were settled at Hammonds Plains. This painting, c1835, shows a Black family on the Hammonds Plains Road, with Bedford Basin in the background.(watercolour by Robert Petley, courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-115424).

10 May 1776: Black Corps Formed
Many Blacks actively participated in the American Revolutionary War, serving as boatmen, woodsmen, general labourers, buglers and musicians. General Henry Clinton formed a corps of free Blacks, called the Black Pioneers.

1776 : "Free Negroes" Reach Nova Scotia
Canada developed a reputation as a safe haven for Blacks during the American Revolution, 1775-1783. The British promised land, freedom and rights to slaves and free Blacks in exchange for services rendered. Some of the Black Loyalists to reach Nova Scotia belonged to the "Company of Negroes," who left Boston with British troops.

30 June 1777: Clinton's Philipsburg Proclamation
Sir Henry Clinton encouraged enslaved Blacks to desert rebel masters, promising them freedom and shelter. British Commander-in-Chief Sir Guy Carleton guaranteed that all slaves who formally requested British protection would be freed. An estimated 100, 000 Blacks fled to the British side during the American Revolution.

October 1781: Loyalist Reverend John Stuart Brings Slaves to Québec
Many Loyalists who settled in Upper Canada saw no conflict between the institution of slavery and their moral beliefs. The Reverend John Stuart of Kingston, the first minister of the Church of England in Upper Canada, recorded in his diary that he brought Black slaves with him from the Mohawk Valley.

An anonymous slave woman [courtesy Northwind Picture Archives).
Image: An anonymous slave woman (courtesy Northwind Picture Archives).

1 July 1782: Enslaved Sylvia Defends Colonel Creighton
When Lunenburg, Nova Scotia was invaded by American soldiers, Colonel John Creighton's servant Sylvia rose to his defense. Sylvia shuttled cartridges in her apron from Creighton's house to the fort where he and his soldiers were engaged in battle. She also protected the Colonel's son and valuables. Following the battle, Creighton was publicly recognized and rewarded for her heroism.

1784-1792: David George
Baptist preacher David George was a Black Loyalist from Virginia. He settled in Shelburne, Nova Scotia in 1784 and began preaching in neighbouring Birchtown. His emotional sermons drew both Black and White Christians. Using only Black community funds, George founded several Black Baptist churches and initiated a "self-help" movement that still exists.

White soldiers drove the blacks out of Shelburne.
Image: White soldiers drove the Blacks out of Shelburne.

26-27 July 1784: Canada's First Race-Riot Rocks Birchtown
After the Revolutionary War, the "Black Pioneers" were among the first settlers in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. They helped build the new settlement. On its fringes they established their own community, "Birchtown." When hundreds of White, disbanded soldiers were forced to accept work at rates competitive with their Black neighbours the ensuing hostility caused a riot.

artwork by Richard Bridgens 1836, courtesy Library of Congress
Image: "Negro Frolicks" were banned in the town of Shelburne (artwork by Richard Bridgens 1836, courtesy Library of Congress).

12 May 1785: "Negro Frolicks" Prohibited
Officials in Nova Scotia ordered "50 Handbills [to] be immediately printed forbidding Negro Dances and Negro Frolicks in [the] town of Shelburne."

13 July 1787: NorthWest Ordinance Passed
In 1787, the new United States passed the NorthWest Ordinance, the first anti-slavery law in North America, which applied to its NorthWest Territory, where government authority was not clearly defined. The area was simultaneously "free" American territory and part of a larger, British "slave" province.

1790: Imperial Statute
The Imperial Statute of 1790 effectively allowed settlers to bring enslaved persons to Upper Canada. Under the statute, the enslaved had only to be fed and clothed. Any child born of enslaved parents became free at age 25 and anyone who released someone from bondage had to ensure that he/she could be financially independent.

Slave auctioning
Image: Slave auctioning continued in Canada even after the American War of Independence.

July 1791: Slave Case Heard at NS Court
Freedom for Black people was elusive, regardless of the promises made by the British at the end of the American War of Independence. Enslaved woman Mary Postell took her "owner," Jesse Gray, to court, twice for stealing her children. He was found not guilty, even though he had sold her and her daughter. 

15 January 1792: The Black Loyalist Exodus
The difficulty of supporting themselves in the face of widespread discrimination convinced many Black Loyalists that they would never find true freedom and equality in Nova Scotia. When offered the opportunity to leave the colony in the 1790s, almost 1200 Blacks left Halifax to relocate to Sierra Leone.

John Graves Simcoe, courtesy Metropolitan Toronto Library
Image: John Graves Simcoe, first lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, helped to abolish slavery in Canada in 1793 (courtesy Metropolitan Toronto Library).

21 March 1793: The Cooley Case
Upper Canadians were shocked when Chloë Cooley, an enslaved girl from Queenstown, was beaten and bound by her owner and sold to an American. Brought before Upper Canada's Executive Council 21 March 1793, English law made prosecution impossible. The incident convinced Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe that the abolition of slavery was necessary.

19 June 1793: Simcoe's Anti-Slave Trade Bill
When Simcoe left England to take up his appointment as the first lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, he pledged never to support discriminatory laws.  On 19 June 1793, Attorney General White introduced Simcoe's anti-slavery measure and it passed, although it was not a total ban on slavery but a gradual prohibition. 

1794: Black Loyalists Petition for All-Black Settlement in UC
In 1794, based on their military service in the war between Great Britain and America, 19 free Blacks in the Niagara area petitioned Governor Simcoe for a grant of land to establish an all-Black settlement. The petition was rejected. In 1819 the government established Oro Settlement near Barrie.

Leonard Parkinson [courtesy Nova Scotia Archives/N-6202)
Image: Leonard Parkinson, a captain of the Maroons (courtesy Nova Scotia Archives/N-6202).

22 July 1796: The Maroons Land at Halifax
On 22 July 1796, a group of 600 freedom-fighters landed at Halifax. These immigrants, called Maroons, came from the Jamaican community of escaped slaves, who had guarded their freedom for more than a century and fought off countless attempts to re-enslave them.

1799: Papineau Presents Citizens' Petition to Abolish Slavery in Lower Canada
In 1799, Joseph Papineau (father of Louis-Joseph Papineau) presented a citizens' petition asking the government to abolish slavery, prompting a series of anti-slavery measures. While these bills were defeated, a movement towards the abolition of slavery was clearly under way in Lower Canada.

Black History Canada -- 1800 - 1900

Source --

Richard Pierpoint
Image: Richard Pierpoint (drawing by David Meyler).

10 February 1806: Russell Family Sells Slaves
Enslaved people, understandably, were not always obedient. In her personal correspondence, Elizabeth Russell complained about the behaviour of her slave Peggy and Peggy's son Jupiter. In February of 1806 Russell ran an ad in the Upper Canadian press, advertising Peggy for $150 and Jupiter for $200.

1807: Upper Canadian Slave Rejects Freedom
Runaway Blacks were used to help defend Detroit, and served in a Black military unit. In 1807, Upper Canadian slave-holder John Askin sent George, a Black 15-year-old, to Detroit on an errand. Black soldiers offered George a weapon and freedom. George considered staying, but returned to Upper Canada and his master.

21 July 1812: Company of "Coloured" Troops Commissioned
In the summer of 1812, Black Loyalist Richard Pierpoint petitioned the government of Upper Canada to raise a company of Black troops to help protect the Niagara frontier. After some debate, the government agreed. A company of Blacks was formed under the command of a White officer, Captain Robert Runchey Sr.

1812-1815: The "Coloured Troops" and the War of 1812
Thousands of Black volunteers fought for the British during the War of 1812.  Fearing American conquest (and the return to slavery), many Blacks in Upper Canada served heroically in coloured and regular regiments. The British promise of freedom and land united many escaped slaves under the British flag.

September 1813-August 1816:  "Black Refugees" Set Sail
British Vice-Admiral Alexander Cochrane's offer of transportation for anyone wanting to leave the United States was widely circulated among the Black population. Four thousand former slaves deserted to the British side and were transported to the British colonies. About 2000 refugees set sail for Nova Scotia from September 1813- August 1816.

Escaping to Canada through the underground railroad as depicted by Charles T. Webber in 1893 [courtesy Cincinnati Art Museum/1927.26)
Image: Escaping to Canada through the underground railroad as depicted by Charles T. Webber in 1893 (courtesy Cincinnati Art Museum/1927.26).

1815-1860: The Underground Railroad
Canada's reputation as a safe haven for Blacks grew substantially during and after the War of 1812. Between 1815 and 1865, tens of thousands of African-Americans sought refuge in Upper and Lower Canada via the legendary Underground Railroad.

1819: John Beverley Robinson's Pronouncement
Building on Simcoe's early work, Attorney General John Beverley Robinson openly declared in 1819 that residence in "Canada" made Blacks free. He also publicly pledged that "Canadian courts" would uphold this freedom. Many, at home and abroad, took notice. 

24 September 1819: Lieutenant-Governor's Black Settlement Plan
In 1815, Lieutenant-Governor Peregrine Maitland of Upper Canada began to offer Black veterans grants of land in the Township of Oro. His intention to balance "policy with humanity," even in the face of American opposition, was expressed in a letter to a British official in 1819.

10 August 1823: Canadian Steamer Rescues Stranded Slave
By 1820, the Underground Railroad used established routes into Canada West, but some freedom seekers managed their own escapes. In August 1823 the Canadian Steamer Chief Justice Robinson picked up a Black man floating on a wooden gate in Lake Ontario. He was trying to reach Queenston.

Josiah Henson [1789 - 1889).
Image: Josiah Henson (1789 - 1889).

28 October 1830: Henson— "Uncle Tom"—Escapes to Canada
Josiah Henson, considered by many the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom, reached Canada with his family after escaping from Kentucky. A natural leader, Josiah Henson began to help other escaped slaves adapt to life in Upper Canada. He joined the anti-slavery movement and spoke publicly about his experiences.

1820-1821: Last Slave Advertisements Posted
While slavery remained legal in all British North American colonies until 1834, the combination of legislative and judicial action had severely tested the institution by the early 1820s. The last known private advertisement for slaves appeared in Halifax in 1820 and in Québec in 1821.

1829-1830: Wilberforce Settlement
By the end of the 18th century, there were more than 40 Black communities in Upper Canada. Life was uncertain in these early settlements. One of the first sizeable Black communities was Wilberforce, founded by Cincinnati Blacks. It was poorly managed and financially troubled and after only six years disbanded.

28 August 1833: British Parliament Abolishes Slavery
On 28 August 1833, slavery was abolished throughout the British colonies by an Imperial Act which became effective 1 August 1834. The act formally freed nearly 800,000 slaves but there were probably fewer than 50 slaves in British North America by that time.

September 1837: The Rescue of Solomon Moseby
Solomon Moseby, accused of stealing a horse from his owner in Kentucky, escaped to Canada. He was arrested in Newark/Niagara in the summer of 1837. Hundreds of sympathetic Blacks encircled the jail for three weeks to prevent his transfer. Upon Moseby's transport in early September, a riot ensued. Moseby escaped, but two supporters were killed.

11 December 1837: Corps of Negroes
In the early 19th century, few Upper Canada militia units included Blacks. When the Mackenzie Rebellion broke out, the government welcomed Black men into the provincial forces. On 11 December 1837, a militia order authorized Captains Thomas Runchey and James Sears to raise a "corps of Negroes." Four days later, approximately 50 Blacks had joined the corps.

6 March 1838: Blacks in Upper Canada Publicly Praised
In the spring of 1838, Lieutenant-Governor Sir Francis Bond Head addressed the legislature to publicly praise Black Upper Canadians for their loyalty and service during the recent rebellions.

Newspaperman George Brown
Image: Newspaperman George Brown (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-26415)

1844: Anti-slavery Forum
In the Toronto Globe, editor George Brown, one of Canada's leading abolitionists, regularly commented on the disadvantaged condition of Blacks in North America. From its inception in 1844, the Globe gave anti-slavery forces a public forum, attacking United States senator Henry Clay, the Fugitive Slave Act, separate schools, and other issues.  

8 March 1849: Larwill Fails to Block Elgin Settlement
Prejudice does not die easily. In an 1849 petition, ardent segregationist Edwin Larwill expressed his considerable animosity toward Blacks by opposing the Elgin Settlement. He was unsuccessful, but his strong personality and ability to attract support contributed to Chatham's notorious discrimination against Blacks in the 1840s and 1850s.

18 August 1849: King-Larwill Debate
Edwin Larwill had some support for his segregationist views, even against Reverend William King's proposal to establish the Elgin Settlement. Larwill challenged King to a debate on the proposal. He misjudged his audience and lost support with his extreme views. The debate was a turning point in the history of race relations in Canada.

An impassioned condemnation of the American Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 by artist Theodore Kaufmann [courtesy Library of Congress).
Image: An impassioned condemnation of the American Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 by artist Theodore Kaufmann (courtesy Library of Congress).

18 September 1850: The Fugitive Slave Act
The Fugitive Slave Act passed by the American Congress on 18 September 1850 dealt a severe blow to the American abolitionist cause. It gave slave-owners and their agents the right to track down and arrest fugitives anywhere in the country. Bounty hunters often kidnapped free Blacks and illegally sold them into slavery in the Southern states.

1 January 1851: First Issue of Bibb's Voice of the Fugitive
Henry Bibb was a rebellious slave who escaped to Detroit around 1840 and began speaking publicly against slavery and organizing abolitionist groups. A decade later he moved to Windsor, and founded the Voice of the Fugitive, which reported on the Underground Railroad and colonization schemes.

February-May 1851: Canadians React to Fugitive Slave Act
The passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in the United States led to the formation of a larger and more durable antislavery society in Canada. Canadians publicly debated "the slavery question"; George Brown's Toronto Globe chastised its journalistic opposition for being soft on slavery; and individuals protested Canadian support of the American antislavery movement.

26 February 1851: Formation of Canadian Anti-Slavery Society
The number of abolitionist sympathizers grew in Canada in the 1850s-1860s. As more Black refugees entered Canada, sympathizers formed organizations and committees to influence public opinion and help freedom-seekers make their way north. On 26 February 1851, the Anti-Slavery Society of Canada was formed, "to aid in the extinction of Slavery all over the world."

3 April 1851: Leading American Abolitionist Visits Toronto
When Frederick Douglass visited Toronto and addressed a large anti-slavery audience on 3 April 1851, he was the most famous African-American in the abolition movement. In Toronto, a cheering crowd of 1,200 filled the St. Lawrence's grand ballroom to listen to Douglass expound on the evils of American slavery.

Henry Bibb
Image: In 1851, Henry Bibb chaired the famous North American Convention of Colored Freemen at St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto.

10 September 1851: North American Convention of Colored Freemen
Because of its large Black community and active anti-slavery society, Toronto was chosen as the site for the North American Convention of Colored Freemen in 1851. Hundreds of Blacks from all over Canada, the northern United States and England attended, where speakers included H.C. Bibb, Josiah Henson and J.T. Fisher.  

17 June 1852: Steamers Bring Freedom Seekers to Canada
By mid-century, Great Lakes steamers regularly transported Blacks to Canada. Underground Railroad agents used scows, sailboats, and steamboats to deliver their precious cargo to Canadian shores. This sustained migration prompted one Toronto Colonist editor to complain on 17 June 1852 that "every boat arriving from the United States seems to carry fugitive slaves."

24 March 1853: Provincial Freeman Founded by Mary Ann and Isaac Shadd
Mary Ann Shadd was an educated Black woman who had opened a Black school in Wilmington, Delaware. She and her brother Isaac fled to Windsor after the Fugitive Slave Act was passed. The Shadds founded the abolitionist newspaper the Provincial Freeman. Mary Ann Shadd was the first African-American woman publisher in North America.

16 November 1857: William Neilson Hall Wins Victoria Cross
William Hall served aboard the frigate Shannon in Calcutta during the 1857 Indian Mutiny. Against all odds, Hall breached a wall of the Najeef Temple to allow British troops to overcome the mutineers. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, the first Canadian naval recipient, the first Black and the first Nova Scotian to win the prestigious medal.

1865: Interview with First Black Girl in Upper Canada Published
American abolitionist and writer Benjamin Drew conducted research in Canada in the 1850s and interviewed many former slaves about the Black refugee experience. In 1865 he published an interview with an elderly woman named Sophia Pooley who claimed to have been one of Joseph Brant's slaves and the "first Black girl in Upper Canada."

26 April 1858: First Black Californians Arrive in BC
On the invitation of James Douglas, the governor of British Columbia, the first ship carrying Black Californians landed in Victoria on 26 April 1858. By summer's end, more than 800 Black settlers had arrived. While government legislation suggested that equality prevailed, in truth, convention and little enforcement allowed acceptance to give way to segregation.

8 May 1858: John Brown Holds a Convention in Canada
Ardent American abolitionist John Brown planned to overthrow the American government and the entire slave system by training a band of men to wage "guerilla warfare" in the American South. He chose Chatham, Canada West, as his operational base. Upon revealing his radical plan, he lost the support of Chatham Blacks.

16 October 1859: John Brown's Raid
Despite his extremism, John Brown retained some support in Chatham, including from the Shadd family. On 16 October 1859, Brown and several followers seized the United States Armory and Arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Half his supporters were killed and Brown was seriously wounded. In the end, only one Chatham Black took part in the ill-fated raid.

2 December 1859: John Brown is Hanged
The Harpers Ferry raid left a deep impression on Canadians. In the days and weeks that followed, many newspapers took note of John Brown's efforts, and some even proclaimed him a "hero." Funeral bells tolled in Toronto after Brown's 2 December 1859 execution and many churches held memorial services.

16 February 1861: "Anderson" Case Heard in British Court
Black refugee "John Anderson" was arrested for having murdered Seneca Diggs, who tried to prevent his escape. He was tried by the Court of Queen's Bench and ordered extradited. British abolitionists got the case before the Queen's Court in England. The case was dismissed on a technicality; the arresting warrant had not mentioned murder.

15 April 1865: Torontonians Mourn Lincoln's Death
When American President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on 15 April 1865, Canadians publicly mourned his tragic death. In Toronto, businesses closed, throngs attended memorial services, and Blacks mourned for two months. Lincoln's death prompted a great outpouring of anti-slavery sentiment.

1866: First Black Politician in Canada
Shortly after arriving in Victoria in 1858, Mifflin Gibbs established a business. In 1861, he won public praise for helping to organize a Black militia and decided to run for public office. After an unsuccessful attempt in 1862, Gibbs was elected to the Victoria Town Council in 1866, the first Black politician in Canada.

17 January 1871: Obituary of Distinguished Black Veteran
On 17 January 1871 in Cornwall, Ontario, the death of John Baker at 105 was announced.  In some ways, Baker's life was unique. He may have been the last surviving Upper Canadian slave. He had seen his adopted homeland become Upper Canada, Canada West and then, the Dominion of Canada.

21 November 1892: Canada's First Black Physician Named Aide-de-Camp
Anderson Abbot became Canada's first Black physician in 1861. He served as one of only eight Black surgeons in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was distinguished by being appointed aide-de-camp of the New York Commanding Officers Dept., the highest military honour bestowed to that time on a Black person in North America.

Black History Canada -- 1900 - Present

Source -

February 1911: Anti-Black Campaign
By 1909, hundreds of Oklahoma Blacks had moved to the Canadian Prairies, where they met the same wariness and discrimination that had allowed slavery to exist in an earlier time. In February 1911, a few newspapers in Winnipeg even predicted that the Dominion government would move to exclude "Negro immigrants." 

1911: Oliver's Immigration Policy
Alberta's Frank Oliver wanted tighter controls on immigration. He became the Liberal government's Minister of the Interior in 1905. Oliver was staunchly British, and his policies favoured nationality over occupation. By 1911, he was able to assert that his immigration policy was more "restrictive, exclusive and selective" than his predecessor's.

Harriet Tubman
Image: Harriet Tubman

10 March 1913: Heroine of the Underground Railroad Dies
Harriet Tubman, ardent abolitionist and heroine of the Underground Railroad, died in New York in 1913. As a conductor with the Underground Railroad, she made 19 secret trips to the American South and guided more than 300 slaves to freedom in Canada.

5 July 1916: WWI All-Black Battalion
In 1916, Canadian enlistment figures fell from 30,000 to 6,000 per month, while the year-end goal was a force of 500,000. When Reverend C.W. Washington of Edmonton offered to raise an all-Black battalion, military officials authorized the creation of the No. 2 Construction Battalion. The battalion served in France with the Canadian Forestry Corps.

A musical band from the No.2 Construction Battalion, c. 1917.
Image: A musical band from the No.2 Construction Battalion, c. 1917.

1914-1918: Black Canadians on the Home Front in WWI
Between 1914 and 1918, Black Canadians at home became actively involved in the war effort. Black associations—on their own and in cooperation with White groups—raised funds, worked in factories and volunteered in hospitals and as labourers.

1939-1945: Blacks Accepted into Canadian Services in WWII
Initially, the Canadian military rejected Black volunteers, but as the war continued, many Blacks were accepted into the Regular Army and officer corps. While there was still some segregation in the Canadian forces until the end of the war, hundreds of Black Canadians served alongside Whites in Canada and Europe.

Black Railway Porters in Montréal, Québec [courtesy Africville Genealogical Society).
Image: Black Railway Porters in Montréal, Québec. Railway porters played an important role in the struggle for Black rights in Canada (courtesy Africville Genealogical Society).

1939-1945: Conditions on the Home Front in WWII
Blacks at home assumed the responsibilities of the men and women serving overseas, working alongside Whites in jobs across the country. During World War II, hundreds of Black workers joined labour unions for the first time. The all-Black Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was one of the greatest success stories of the war years. 

14 March 1944: Ontario Passes Racial Discrimination Act
Ontario was the first province to respond to social change when it passed the Racial Discrimination Act of 1944. This landmark legislation effectively prohibited the publication and display of any symbol, sign, or notice that expressed ethnic, racial, or religious discrimination. It was followed by other sweeping legislation.

Viola Desmond.
Image: Viola Desmond.

8 November 1946: Black Woman Sits in Theatre's "White Section"
The Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NSAACP) united civil rights forces. The NSAACP supported Viola Desmond, a Black woman from Halifax, in her case against a New Glasgow theatre where she was arrested for sitting in the "White-only" section, even though she was willing to buy the more expensive ticket.

2-3 September 1954: Toronto Telegram Covers the Dresden Story
Black discrimination continued in the 1950s, despite legislation prohibiting it. In 1954, two Blacks visited rural Dresden, Ont. and were refused service in two restaurants. The Toronto Telegram sent Black "testers" to investigate, who were also refused. When the Telegram ran the story, it confirmed what many Blacks suspected, that Canada's laws and regulations were ineffective.

Ellen Fairclough, former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration [photograph by D. Cameron, courtesy Library and Archives Canada / PA-12 9254).
Image: Ellen Fairclough, former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (photograph by D. Cameron, courtesy Library and Archives Canada / PA-12 9254).

19 January 1962: Fairclough Dismantles Discriminatory Policy
During her term as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Ellen Fairclough oversaw improvements to the Canadian Immigration Service, but her most significant accomplishment was the radical reform of the government's "White Canada" immigration policy. Regulations tabled in 1962 helped to eliminate racial discrimination in Canada's immigration policy.

25 September 1963: First Black Elected to a Canadian Parliament
Leonard Braithwaite became the first African-Canadian in a provincial legislature when he was elected as the Liberal member for Etobicoke, Ontario in 1963.

1964 - 1970: Africville Demolished
Encouraged by media attention to Africville's "American-style ghetto," the Halifax City Planning Commission expropriated the land. Residents resisted, citing the community's proud traditions, although Africville lacked basic services such as water, sewage, and good roads. Between 1964 and 1970, residents were relocated and the community razed.

11 August 1965: Klan Activity in Amherstburg
In 1965, racial tension ran high in Amherstburg, Ont. A cross-burning set the tone; the Black Baptist Church was defaced and the town sign was spray-painted "Amherstburg Home of the KKK." Five days of racial incidents threatened to escalate but the situation was saved by an investigation by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. No arrests were made.

A performer at Toronto’s Caribana Festival [photograph by Jeffrey Gunawan).
Image: A performer at Toronto’s Caribana Festival (photograph by Jeffrey Gunawan).

28 July 1967: Toronto's Caribana Festival Founded
Approximately two-thirds of Canada's West Indian population resides in the greater Toronto area. On 28 July 1967, ten Torontonians with a common West Indian heritage founded the Caribana cultural festival to display their rich cultural traditions. The Caribana festival continues to promote cultural pride, mutual respect and social unity.

18 September 1967: African-Canadian Wins Middleweight Championship
In 1967 David Downey won his first Canadian Middleweight Championship, which he retained until August 1970. Downey's boxing career coincided with one of the most dynamic periods in Halifax's history, which saw the emergence of the city's Black population as a social and political force.

October 1967: Immigration "Points System"
Prior to 1967, the immigration system relied largely on immigration officers' judgment to determine who should be eligible to enter Canada. Deputy Minister of Immigration Tom Kent established a points system, which assigned points in nine categories, to determine eligibility. Ethnic groups all across Canada endorsed the new selection process. 

October 1971: Trudeau Introduces Canada's Multicultural Policy
Canada's multiculturalism policy grew partly in reaction to the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, which endorsed a "bicultural Canada," barely recognizing "other ethnic groups." This dilemma was partially resolved in 1971 by Prime Minister Trudeau's assertion that Canada was a "multicultural country with two official languages."

1971: African-Canadian Sprinter Receives Order of Canada
In 1971, sprinter Harry Jerome was awarded the Order of Canada medal for "excellence in all fields of Canadian life." Jerome proudly represented Canada in three Olympic Games, winning bronze at Tokyo in 1964.

1974: West Indian Immigration Overwhelms Black Communities
With the Immigration Act of 1962 and 1967 reforms, Black West Indians flocked to Canada. Indigenous Blacks and their established communities were overwhelmed by the influx and felt threatened by cultural differences. At first some thought skin colour was their only connection. In the early 1980s, Black Canadians of all backgrounds began uniting around common causes.

Dr. Wilson A. Head [courtesy Québec English Schools Network).
Image: Dr. Wilson A. Head (courtesy Quebec English Schools Network).

1975: Head Founds Urban Alliance on Race Relations
Black reformer Wilson Head brought a lifetime of experience in civil rights activism with him when he moved from the US to Canada in 1959. Among his numerous accomplishments was the creation, in 1975, of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations. The organization is still dedicated to fighting discrimination against all ethno-racial communities.

1984: Nova Scotian Civil Rights Advocate Awarded Order of Canada
Dr. William Pearly Oliver and his wife Pearleen Borden Oliver helped unite the Black community in the 1940s and 1950s. William, founder of the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NSAACP), received the Order of Canada in 1984. Pearleen received an Honorary Doctorate from Saint Mary's University in 1990.

The Honourable Lincoln Alexander [courtesy Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario).
Image: The Honourable Lincoln Alexander, the first Black Canadian to sit in the House of Commons and to hold the office of lieutenant-governor (courtesy Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario).

20 September 1985
Lincoln Alexander was born of West Indian immigrant parents. He was sworn in as Ontario's lieutenant-governor in September 1985, the first Black person to hold the vice-regal position in Canada. Alexander was also the first Black MP and federal Cabinet minister.

1991: Race Riot at NS High School Prompts Education Reform
In 1991, at Cole Harbour District High School, a fight between one Black and one White student escalated into a brawl involving 50 youths of both races. The event mobilized provincial Black activists around the issue of unequal educational opportunities. Nova Scotia's Ministry of Education established a fund in 1995 to improve education and support anti-racist initiatives.

4 May 1992: The Yonge Street "Rebellion"
A daytime demonstration against the acquittal of police officers in the Rodney King case in Los Angeles descended into a nighttime riot on Toronto's Yonge Street. Ignoring the historical context, the media decried the "America-style violence" of the young Black men. However, the riot prompted Canadians to address the root causes of Black frustration.

7 June 1993: Father Convicted for Hiring Hit Man to Kill Daughter's Black Fiancé
Helen Mouskos, daughter of Greek immigrants, planned to marry Lawrence Martineau, son of Trinidadian immigrants. When her parents realized the couples' relationship, they protested. Helen's father, Andreas, was enraged and hired a hit man to kill Lawrence. The murder plot was discovered and Andreas was sentenced to five years in prison in June 1993.

book cover: Selling Illusions, Neil Bissoondath
Image: Bissoondath asserted that Canada’s multiculturalism policy, whatever its intentions, was “a gentle and insidious form of cultural apartheid.”

1994: Bissoondath's Selling Illusions is Published
Canada's multiculturalism policies came under attack by many authors who claimed that it had created a divided and fragmented society of hyphenated Canadians. The most powerful condemnation came from Neil Bissoondath, a Canadian novelist and immigrant from Trinidad who refused the "burden of hyphenation," which would label him "an East Indian-Trinidadian-Canadian."

6 August 1995: Canadian Sprinter Becomes "World's Fastest Human" 
In 1995, Oakville's Donovan Bailey assumed the title of "World's Fastest Human" by winning the 100-metre sprint at the World Track Championships at Göteborg, Sweden. Taking silver in the same race was Montreal's Bruny Surin. Bailey went on to win gold at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, setting a new world and Olympic record (9.84).

Author Austin Clarke, 1999 [courtesy Athabasca University, Centre for Language & Literature).
Image: Author Austin Clarke, 1999 (courtesy Athabasca University, Centre for Language & Literature).

5 November 2002: Clarke Wins Giller Prize for Polished Hoe
Austin Clarke, Canada's most widely-read Black novelist, won the Giller Prize for fiction in 2002 and the Regional Commonwealth Prize for best book in 2003 for his ninth novel The Polished Hoe. Clarke, who was born in Barbados, has sensitized generations of readers to the plight of West Indian immigrants.

4 August 2005: First Black Governor General Announced
On 4 August 2005, Prime Minister Paul Martin announced the appointment of Haitian-born Michaëlle Jean as Governor General of Canada. Her dual French-Canadian citizenship and allegations of separatist connections generated controversy. Jean renounced her French citizenship before taking office and refuted a connection to the separatist movement.

The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, at her swearing-in ceremony on 27 September 2005 [courtesy CP Archives).
Image: The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, at her swearing-in ceremony on 27 September 2005 (courtesy CP Archives).

27 September 2005: Jean Sworn in as Governor General
Michaëlle Jean was sworn in as Canada's first Black governor general. She emphasized freedom as a central part of the Canadian identity and has suggested that it was time to "eliminate the spectre" of the two solitudes, French and English, which has so long characterized the country's history.

30 Reasons to Thank a Black Person

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Plenty would not exist were it not for black pioneers; here’s a very small glimpse at what modern day inventions came from the African American community.

1. Automatic Gear Shift



Richard Spikes – Driving up a steep hill got a whole lot easier in 1932, thanks to this guy.

2. America’s First Clock



Benjamin Banneker – He was a farmer, mathematician, astronomer, land surveyor, and the subject of a Stevie Wonder song.

3. Automatic Elevator Doors



Alexander Miles – We’ve all gotten the elevator door hug and we all owe this man.

4. Blimp



John Pickering – His was the first blimp to have an electric motor and directional controls. Goodyear better have this man’s picture in their lobby.

5. Blood Bank



Dr. Charles Drew – For his invention of a method of separating and storing plasma, allowing it to be dehydrated and banked for later use, Dr. Drew was the first black person awarded a doctorate at Columbia University.

6. Clothes Dryer



George T. Sampson – Giving laundry baskets a greater sense of purpose since 1892.

7. Dust Pan



Lloyd P. Ray – Mr. Ray patented the reason we have far fewer backaches.

8. Electric Lamp



Lewis Latimer – He also invented the carbon filament inside light bulbs.

9. Folding Chair



John Purdy – With patent partner James R. Sadgwar, Purdy made taking a chair with you purdy easy. Get it?

10. Gas Heating Furnace

Illustration of early 20th century cast iron gas heater


Alice H. Parker – Forever changing the way we stay warm in the winter.

11. Gas Mask



Garret Morgan – It all started when this guy rescued trapped miners wearing a hood to protect his eyes from smoke and had tubes leading to the floor to draw clean air.

12. Golf Tee

Naples Florida USA


Dr. George Grant – They say he was an avid golfer, but not a great one. Hopefully his patent improved his game.

13. Home Security System



Marie Van Brittan Brown – And television has been part of home security ever since.

14. Ice Cream Scooper



Alfred L. Cralle – You’ve been screaming, I’ve been screaming, we’ve all been screaming for this since 1897.

15. Ironing Board



Sarah Boone – The reason we no longer iron across a piece of wood balanced on two chairs.

16. Lawn Mower



John Albert Burr – The lawnmower’s best makeover ever brought better traction, rotary blades, and allowed cutting closer to buildings.

17. Lawn Sprinkler



Joseph A. Smith – We should honor this man for helping with Father’s Day ideas every year.

18. Mail Box

Four rural mailboxes.


Phillip Downing – Before this invention, people had to make a long trip to the Post Office to mail a letter.

19. Modern Lock

Security guard locking a gate at water treatment facility


Washington Martin – His patent was an improvement on the 4,000-year-old Chinese bolt.

20. Modern Toilet

Smiling young man taking selfie while defecating


Thomas Elkins – He influenced several major patents, but it’s this one we appreciate most (not to knock the multi-purpose table or refrigerators for dead bodies).

21. Mop



Thomas W. Stewart – He’s kept us off our hands and knees since 1893.

22. Pacemaker



Otis Boykin – On top of this lifesaving invention, he was born in Dallas, Texas. Double. Greatness.

23. Portable Pencil Sharpener

Photo of one pencil-sharpener


John Lee Love – A carpenter clever with names for his inventions, calling this one the ‘Love Sharpener.’

24. Potato Chips



George Crum – You have to love that his last name is Crum.

25. Reversible Baby Stroller

Mothers on a Play Date


William Richardson – He’s also the reason wheels move separately. We feel certain there are fewer crying babies in the world because of this man.

26. Super Soaker



Lonnie G. Johnson – Being a NASA engineer is impressive, but we love him for inventing the Super Soaker!

27. Suspenders

Overweight businessman with a pot belly holding his suspenders


28. Thermostat & Temperature Control

Regulator climate control.


Frederick Jones – His refrigeration equipment made it possible to transport blood and food during World War II.

29. Touch-Tone Telephone

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson – And that’s not the only way Dr. Jackson made our telecommunications lives easier Along with being the first African American woman to earn a PhD from MIT, she gave us the portable fax machine, caller ID, call waiting, and the fiber-optic cable.

30. Traffic Light



Garrett Morgan – Three cheers for the red, green and yellow. Mostly for the green!


Lord Leary Constantine - Cricket Legend

Lord Leary Constantine
Lord Leary Constantine
Cricket legend, Political activist and first black peer

Before 1944 it was common for West End hotels to refuse accommodation to black people. In 1943 this happened to Learie Constantine, one of the world's most distinguished cricketers. He sued the hotel and won his case. As CLR James put it, he revolted 'against the revolting contrast between his first class status as a cricketer and his third class status as a man'. His legal victory was a turning point in the struggle against the humiliating forms of colour bar in Britain.

Learie Constantine was born in Trinidad in 1902. his father, an overseer on a cocoa estate, was a keen cricketer. Learie's performance in three first class matches won him a place on the West Indies team, and he came to Britain in 1923. As a batsman, so powerful were his strokes, he was likened to a blacksmith. He was also a devastating bowler. His fielding was near perfect - his performance at Lord's in 1928, where he took 100 wickets and made 1,000 runs - led to an invitation to turn professional and join the Nelson team in the Lancashire League.

He settled in Lancashire with his wife and daughter. Black people were a novelty there, and they had to endure rudeness, anonymous letters and general curiosity. But they stuck it out, eventually winning the respect, admiration and friendship of the locals. CLR James was their lodger for a while, and helped Constantine write his first book, Cricket and I, in 1933. And during his nine years with the Nelson team, it won the league championship seven times.

In 1942, while working in a solicitor's office, Constantine was asked by the Ministry of Labour to become a temporary civil servant in its welfare department, with responsibility for the West Indian technicians who had come to Merseyside factories. His organisational ability, personal prestige, experience of Lancashire and racial background made him the ideal person to deal with the absorption of West Indians to the Merseyside industrial and social scene.

In 1943, he was given four days' leave to captain the West Indies team against England at Lord's. Prior to his arrival he was told by the Imperial Hotel there was no objection to his colour, so he paid a deposit, but when he arrived at the hotel it was made clear that he and his family were not welcome. Constantine brought an action against the Imperial hotel for breach of contract.

The judge who heard the case accepted without hesitation the evidence of Constantine, and rejected that given by the defendants. In the witness box, Constantine bore himself with modesty and dignity, dealt with all questions with intelligence and truth. He was awarded £5 in damages. This decision did not end the colour bar in British hotels - in 1946 two Sikh VCs were refused admission to a West End restaurant.

Constantine became a popular broadcaster, and was awarded the MBE in 1945, was called to the Trinidad bar in 1955, and served as Trinidad and Tobago's high commissioner from 1961 to 1964. He was knighted in 1962 and made a life peer - Baron Constantine of Maraval and Nelson in 1969. He died in 1971.

In his book The Colour Bar (1954), he summed up his experience of Britain and the British thus:

Almost the entire population in Britain really expect the coloured man to live in an inferior area…devoted to coloured people…Most British people would be quite unwilling for a black man to enter their homes, nor would they wish to work with one as a colleague, nor stand shoulder to shoulder with one at a factory bench.

Ref -- https://100greatblackbritons.c...ary_constantine.html


"The judge who heard the case accepted without hesitation the evidence of Constantine, and rejected that given by the defendants. In the witness box, Constantine bore himself with modesty and dignity, dealt with all questions with intelligence and truth. He was awarded £5 in damages. This decision did not end the colour bar in British hotels - in 1946 two Sikh VCs were refused admission to a West End restaurant."

Ram John Holder

Ram John Holder

Ram John Holder (born 1934) is a Guyanese actor and musician, who began his professional career as a singer in New York City, before moving to England in 1962. He is best known for playing Augustus “Porkpie” Grant in the British television series Desmond’s but has performed on stage and in both film and television.Ram John Holder was actually christened John Holder by his parents, who were devout members of the USA-based Pilgrim Holiness Church. He grew up in Georgetown, Guyana, during the 1940s and ’50s. Influenced by the church and the musical talents of his parents, he became quite accomplished playing the guitar. During the early ’50s the strict, straight-laced church membership was scandalised when he broke away and changed his name to “Ram” John. Holder began his performing career as a folk singer in New York.[1] In 1962 he came to London and worked with Pearl Connor’s Negro Theatre Workshop initially as a musician, and later as an actor.[2] Holder performed at several London theatres including the Royal National Theatre, the Donmar Warehouse and Bristol Old Vic.

His first major film role was as the effeminate dancer Marcus in Ted Kotcheff’s 1969 film Two Gentlemen Sharing, which told the story of interracial relations in swinging London.[3] John Boorman then cast him as the black preacher in the 1970 comedy film Leo the Last, also about race relations, which was set in a Notting Hill slum in West London. Holder also sang the songs in the film. He again played a preacher in the Horace Ové-directed film Pressure in 1975, made a cameo performance in My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) as a poet, and appeared in Sankofa Film and Video’s debut feature The Passion of Remembrance in 1986.[2] His other film roles included appearances in Britannia Hospital (1982), Half Moon Street (1986), Playing Away (1987), Virtual Sexuality (1999), Lucky Break (2001) and as a Jamaican barber in The Calcium Kid (2004).

Holder played the role of Augustus “Porkpie” Grant in the situation comedy Desmond’s, which was written by Trix Worrell, and broadcast on Channel 4 from 1989 until 1994. He later had his own short-lived spin-off series Porkpie.

Lennox Lewis
Lennox Lewis
Britain's most successful boxer

Despite a reputedly high, undisclosed personal wealth, Lennox Lewis remains one of the most likeable sporting personalities of this century. Lennox Claudius Lewis was born in Stratford, London on 2 September 1965.

His names could not be more aptly chosen as Lennox is Gaelic and means 'chieftain' and Claudius was a Roman emperor who conquered Britain. The younger of two children, the 6ft 5in champion was by no means born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His humble beginnings however did not mar his determination to make his mark in society.

It could be said that Lennox's boxing career started early, as he was always involved in some scrap or other as a child. When asked though, he says that he was "never interested in it as a sport- not for a long time. For years all I wanted to be was a fireman". His continual use of his fists was to herald a significant change in his life, as both he and his mother Violet emigrated to Canada when he was twelve years old, having been separated for five years. He compiled a successful Canadian amateur record that was to climax with the knockout of Riddick Bowe in the 1988 Seoul Olympics where he boxed for Team Canada. Interestingly enough, Bowe, after capturing the heavyweight championship from Evander Holyfield in 1992, refused to fight Lennox again and as a result was stripped of the WBC title. It was then awarded to Lewis.

Lewis made his professional debut at The Royal Albert Hall, in England on June 27, 1989 and proceeded to seize 20 victories - 17 being by straight knockouts.

While focusing on his career as a boxer, Lewis decided to put something back into the community and in 1994/5 opened up The Lennox Lewis College in east London. He wanted to create opportunities for young black people, especially males, whose inherent talent often went unrecognised. Unfortunately it has recently closed due to lack of support from the appropriate authorities. However, during its lifespan a number of young people benefited from being associated with it.

Exhibiting fierce loyalty, by retaining his original staff throughout, and not being lured away by the flamboyant Don King, heralds Lewis as a sporting figure worthy of being highly respected by all.

His illustrious career heightened, when in March 1999 he fought Evander Holyfield to gain the three international title belts. The fight was declared a draw, which was seen as a travesty by most of the boxing fraternity, including Lewis himself.

Despite his disappointment Lewis kept his dignity and proceeded to concentrate on reclaiming what everyone thought was rightfully his. On 13 November 1999 he defeated Holyfield. Finally his quest to unify all three championship titles - the IBF, WBA and WBC - has been attained, making Lewis the second British born boxer in 100 years to hold all three belts.

In recognition, Lewis has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of North London for his services not only to sport but also the community in the education of disadvantaged young people. Regarded as the corporate world's 'most wanted' endorser, he recently launched his own line in fashion wear.

Along with Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano, Lewis's name is recognised the world over. Such is his universal appeal that China wants to stage his next fight. Canada, Japan and South Africa have also placed their bids.

Undoubtedly, Lennox Lewis is a champion of the world. More importantly, he is the people's champion!

Source --

Add Reply

Likes (1)