Canada History Week 2023

8 9 In addition to the video on Joe Trouillot, Andre Barnwell illustrated the video on Clement Ligoure. For more information on him, please see above. Clement Ligoure Dr. Clement Ligoure was Halifax’s first Black doctor and an unsung hero of the Halifax Explosion. Born in Trinidad, Dr. Ligoure came to Canada to attend medical school at Queen’s University and graduated in 1916. He moved to Halifax with the hopes of joining the war efforts and banded together with Reverend William AndrewWhite to create what would become the No. 2 Construction Battalion. Around the same time, Ligoure became a publisher of the Atlantic Advocate, Nova Scotia’s first Black news publication. His primary profession being medicine, he set up a private clinic which, following the Halifax Explosion, was filled with injured civilians. He worked day and night on hundreds of patients, and during the relief efforts throughout the month of December it is believed he did not charge a single patient. In 2023, the Halifax regional council voted in favour of registering the remains of his private clinic as a heritage property. VIDEO ILLUSTRATOR Unsung HeroEs Railway MEN Good Meal fair deal Ride the rails across Canada with Black sleeping car porters as they fight for labour rights and civil rights. The vast majority of sleeping car porters were Black men and the position was one of only a few job opportunities available to Black men, in Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While the position carried respect and prestige for Black men in their communities, the work demanded long hours for little pay. Porters could be fired suddenly and were often subjected to racist treatment. Black Canadian porters formed the first Black railway union in North America and later became members of the larger Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1939. For 25 years starting in 1944, Hattie’s Harlem Chicken Inn in Edmonton served up delicious food. Hattie Melton would feed anyone who was hungry, even if they couldn’t pay. In the 1940s, it was almost impossible for Black people to get good jobs in much of Canada. Hattie hired many young women and men who had never been able to get another job. Jazz musicians like Big Miller and singer Pearl Bailey ate at her restaurant, which was an important meeting place for the Black community in Edmonton. JEREMIAH JONES Joseph Seraphim Fortes ROSE FORTUNE Maurice Ruddick Jeremiah Jones was 58 years old, 13 years above the age limit, when he enlisted with the 106th Battalion in 1916. Before the No. 2 Construction Battalion, an all-Black battalion, was authorized in July 1916, approximately 16 Black volunteers were accepted into the 106th Battalion. For Jones’ heroic actions during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, he was awarded the Canadian Forces Medallion for Distinguished Service in 2010 – 60 years after his death. Joseph Seraphim Fortes was most famous for his volunteer work as a swimming instructor and lifeguard. He was a common sight at English Bay beach in Vancouver, where he taught thousands of children to swim. It was not until around 1897 that the city, in recognition of his services, put him on its payroll as a lifeguard; at some point he was also made a special police constable. He reputedly saved more than 100 people from drowning. The life of Rose Fortune, entrepreneur and Black Loyalist, has been recognized in several ways. Born amidst the American Revolution, Fortune is best known for her talent as a businesswoman at a time when neither women nor Black persons were encouraged to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. In 1992, the Association of Black Law Enforcers established a scholarship for police training in Canada, named after Fortune, and Ontario officer Peter Butler. A marker for her supposed burial site was unveiled at the Garrison Graveyard in Nova Scotia in 2017, the year the federal government recognized her as a person of national historic significance. In 1958, after a mine shaft in Springhill, Nova Scotia caved in on Maurice Ruddick and six other coal miners, he helped keep his companions’ spirits up by singing and leading them in song and prayer. Ruddick and the other “miracle miners” enjoyed public attention briefly after the disaster. For Ruddick, the only Black person in the group, racism dimmed his moment in the spotlight. Black people in early Upper Canada (Ontario) were obscured in historical records by the persistence of enslavement and by a lack of agency and education. For most Black people historical evidence is fragmentary, but occasionally the life of an individual is illuminated by an extraordinary event. This is the case for Richard Pierpoint who, during the American Revolution, took the opportunity offered to enslaved people of enlisting in the British forces and gaining their freedom. In the War of 1812, he petitioned for an all-Black unit to fight for the British and fought with the Coloured Corps. Rose Fortune (Nova Scotia Archives, Documentary Art Collection: accession number 1979-147/56) Still fromMaurice Ruddick Heritage Minute (Historica Canada) Still from Richard Pierpoint Heritage Minute (Historica Canada) Jeremiah Jones (Wikimedia Commons) Portrait of Joseph Fortes (Vancouver Public Library, Accession Number: 39420) RICHARD PIERPOINT Towards the Future B L A C K C A N A D I A N S T O D A Y Railway Men still (Canada’s History Society) Illustration by Brendan Hong (Canada’s History Society) Natasha Henry-DiXON Known for her roles as President of Ontario’s Black History Society and Assistant Professor of African Canadian History at York University in Toronto, Natasha Henry-Dixon is pivotal in promoting Black Canadian History, particularly in her work Emancipation Day: Celebrating Freedom in Canada. Through her publications, exhibits, and educational resources, Henry’s career is dedicated to educating the public about the role of Black people in Canada. Natasha Henry-Dixon (Hungry Eyes Media)