Canada History Week 2023

10 11 Gloria Baylis Robert Sutherland John WarE Ted King, brother of Violet King, was the president of the Alberta Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. In 1959, King launched a legal challenge against a Calgary motel’s discriminatory policy, decades before human rights protections existed throughout Canada. Though his case was not successful, King’s case exposed legal loopholes innkeepers exploited to deny lodging to Black patrons. Gloria Baylis, registered nurse, and civil rights activist was the key witness in Her Majesty the Queen, Complainant v. Hilton of Canada, Ltd., Accused. On 2 September 1964, one day following the introduction of the Act Respecting Discrimination in Employment in Quebec, Baylis inquired about a permanent part-time nursing position at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, which was operated by Hilton of Canada. Baylis was told that the position had already been filled. With the support of the Negro Citizenship Association, Baylis filed a complaint. This case is significant because it is the first time in Canadian history that an institution had been found guilty of racial discrimination in employment. Robert Sutherland was the first Black university graduate and the first Black lawyer in Canada. Born in Jamaica, Sutherland came to Kingston, Canada West (Ontario), to study at Queen’s University in 1849. While at Queen’s, he won 14 academic prizes, and was distinguished for his skills as a debater. Sutherland was called to the Bar in 1855, and he served as a lawyer in Ontario for over twenty years. Born in 1850, John Ware’s life in Canada spans the golden years of the ranching frontier - the period of the great cattle companies. The stories that have contributed to his emergence as a regional folk hero centre upon his remarkable horsemanship, his prodigious strength, his good-natured humour, and his willingness to take novice cowhands under his guidance. Ware is presented as a man of action and few words. All of these attributes are shared by the heroes of the cowboy subculture of this frontier. What distinguishes John Ware is that despite widespread anti-Black racism and discrimination, he was widely admired as one of the best ranchers and cowboys in the West. TED KING Jackie Robinson On 15 April 1947, Jackie Robinson played in his debut game with the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first Black person to play in the major leagues in the modern era. What many baseball fans may not realize, however, is that one year earlier Robinson was a member of the Montreal Royals, a farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers. CHANGEMAKERS Richard Preston Richard Preston, Baptist minister and abolitionist, helped found the African Chapel in Halifax in 1832. As well as fulfilling its official functions, the chapel housed a school and served as a meetingplace. This humble little chapel was itself a symbol of freedom to its worshippers. While acting as a prime mover in the expansion of his own congregation and assisting in the establishment of other Black Baptist churches, Preston also turned his attention to the task of emancipation and formed the African Abolition Society. Jackie Robinson, posed and ready to swing (Wikimedia Commons) Ted King, centre, with family (Glenbow Archives/NA-4987-5) John Ware (Collection, Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections, University of Calgary) BLK: An Orgin Story BLK: An Origin Story is a documentary series produced by Hungry Eyes Media, co-founded by the creative duo of Jen Holness and Sudz Sutherland. It looks beyond the Underground Railroad to explore the untold stories of Black Canadians from the 1600s to the present. The documentary aims to show that Black History is Canadian History. BLK: An Origin Story (Hungry Eyes Media) DID YOU KNOW? A 2022 poll by Leger for the Association for Canadian Studies reveals that a majority of Canadians either don’t know (29%) or don’t believe (32%) that enslavement was ever legal in Canada. Some 39% of Canadians surveyed correctly believe that enslavement was once legal in Canada. See the full results from the survey here. Towards the Future B L A C K C A N A D I A N S T O D A Y Nataizya Mukwavi Nataizya Mukwavi is the founder and executive director of Black Women Connect Vancouver. Her inspirational focus to bridge gaps and create safe spaces for Black women in her community is empowering. Mukwavi executes projects that improve the social service sector, advocates for the marginalized, and is dedicated and committed to the betterment of people in her community. Nataizya Mukwavi (Hungry Eyes Media) Richard Preston, circa 1850, by Dr J.B. Gilpin (History Collection, Nova Scotia Museum, P149.29)