Canada History Week 2023

6 7 Violet King The descendent of Black settlers from Oklahoma who came as part of a campaign to entice American farmers to immigrate to the country, Violet King shattered glass ceilings and broke down barriers. King was the first Black Canadian to obtain a law degree in Alberta, the first Black person admitted to the Alberta Bar, and the first Black woman to become a lawyer in Canada. After working as a lawyer for several years, she moved into a position with the Canadian government, before finally leaving to join the YMCA in the US. She spoke publicly about racism in the workplace and the challenges women faced in the workforce. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Joseph Bonsu is an illustrator who breathes life into stories through captivating visuals. He drew inspiration from comic books and animated shows he watched growing up. A graduate of Sheridan College, he has lent his talents to the CBC, City of Toronto, and more. Joseph is also a co-founder of Heroes of the World, a comic-inspired brand, and he illustrated the children’s book Race with Me, written by famous Canadian Olympic sprinter Andre DeGrasse, and Robert Budd. Professional Trailblazers VIDEO ILLUSTRATOR The Blackburns Thornton and Lucie Blackburn were freedom seekers who fled enslavement in Kentucky and established the first taxi business in Upper Canada (Ontario). Almost extradited after escaping to Canada, the Blackburns’ case helped set a legal precedent that popularized Upper Canada as a destination on the Underground Railroad. Their legacy of activism, generosity, resilience, and innovation helped shape the city of Toronto. Towards the Future B L A C K C A N A D I A N S T O D A Y The Honourable Marlene Jennings The Hon. Marlene Jennings is a celebrated trailblazer; as the first Black woman from Quebec to be elected to Parliament, she has been an advocate for all things community. Her passion to make things better for people across Quebec ranges from grassroots organizations to the highest levels of government, including being Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, the Solicitor General of Canada, and the Prime Minister. William AndrewWhite, the father of Portia White, remains one of the most significant figures in the history of Black Atlantic Canada. A chaplain for the No. 2 Construction Battalion, White was one of the few Black officers in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. White was a popular pastor both at the Zion United Baptist Church in Truro and the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church in Halifax. Educator, publisher, and abolitionist, Mary Ann Shadd was the first Black woman to publish a newspaper in North America. On 24 March 1853, Shadd published the first edition of her weekly newspaper, The Provincial Freeman. The newspaper publicized the successes of Black people living in Canada to promote immigration from the United States. Learn more about Mary Ann Shadd on the Strong and Free podcast. Rosemary Brown Lucille Hunter ANGELA JAMES Dominique Gaspard was a respected doctor and a trailblazer in Montreal’s Black district. After serving with distinction at a field hospital during the First World War, he devoted himself to medical practice in Montreal. A bilingual Catholic, Gaspard was unique in the city’s early-20th-century anglophone Protestant Black community. Rosemary Brown was Canada’s first Black woman to become a member of a provincial legislature and the first woman to run for leadership of a federal political party. She was involved in the British Columbia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, the Voice of Women, and the Vancouver Status of Women Council. Brown’s life was dedicated to breaking down traditional barriers against both women and Black persons in Canada. (See if you can spot her in our video on Violet King!) Angela James was a pioneering and dominant force in women’s hockey during the 1980s and 90s, leading the Canadian women’s hockey team to four world championships. She would overcome racial taunts and gender discrimination to become the first superstar of modern women’s hockey. When James was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010, she was one of the first two women, the first openly gay player, and the second Black athlete ever to be inducted. In 1897, when Lucille Hunter was 19 years old, she and her husband left Michigan for the Klondike gold rush. For over 40 years, they staked claims in the Yukon. When her husband died, Lucille continued to mine her claims, and eventually went on to open and run a laundry business in Whitehorse, where she died in her 90s. Her spunk and tenacity contributed to the fabric of Yukon society. Henry Bibb began publication of the Voice of the Fugitive, the first Black newspaper in Upper Canada (Ontario), at Sandwich on 1 January 1851. The Voice attacked racial bigotry, advocating the immediate end to chattel slavery everywhere, and the complete integration into Canadian society by freedom seekers through a devotion to temperance, education, and agriculture. The newspaper was opposed to the introduction of Black separate schools, through the Common Schools Act (1850); Bibb felt that the future of the Black people in Canada depended upon their being part of an integrated community. Henry Bibb William Andrew White Dominique Gaspard Mary Ann Shadd Reverend William AndrewWhite (Wikimedia Commons) Dominique Gaspard, 1911 (photographer unknown) Mary Ann Shadd Cary (Library and Archives Canada / C-029977) Henry Bibb (University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library) Still fromWomen in Canadian History: Rosemary Brown (Historica Canada) Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto (Wwphoto, Dawson City, Yukon (Amichaelbrown, Dreamstime) Still from Thornton and Lucie Blackburn (Historica Canada) The Honourable Marlene Jennings (Hungry Eyes Media)