Noteworthy Personalities

There are a number of African-Canadians who are noteworthy, for being successful ground breakers, pioneers in some area of endeavour, politics, law, medicine, education, community through the sheer impact of their activity, or multiple contributions.

There are many who are in the process of making a contribution, challenging how we see things. Building on the work of scholars such as Dr. George Bancroft, Dr. Inez Elliston, Dr. Daniel G. Hill, Dr. Wilson Head, and Dr. Vincent D’Oyley are Dr. Avis Glaze, Dr. George Sefa Dei, and Professor Terry Roswell.

Those noteworthy in the legal arena include Justice Selwyn Romilly of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Judge Corinne Sparks, the Honourable Daniel Dortelus of the Court of Quebec, Professor Michelle Williams with Dalhousie University, Dr. Adele Blackett with McGill University, and Margaret Parsons with the African-Canadian Legal Clinic.

There are those who have been the first to aim for or be appointed to high public office, such as Stanley G. Grizzle, Jean Augustine, Zanana Akande, Lincoln Alexander, Leonard Braithwaite, or Anne Cools.

Certainly, the heads of the many organizations are noteworthy for their commitment and dedication, and likely their part or total contribution of time to ensure the work continues. People like Hugh Graham of the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) and Rustum Southwell with the Black Business Initiative, Dwayne Provo with the Black Educators Association (NS) or Dr. Henry Bishop of the Black Cultural Centre, Connie Prevost of the Afro-Metis group, and many others, have made important contributions to our society.

Rev. William Andrew White
A brief profile of Rev. William Andrew White, the first Black minister in Halifax. From the Multicultural Trails website.

Captain of Souls: Rev. William White
A brief biography of Rev. William Andrew White, the second Black man to be accepted into Nova Scotia's Acadia University. From the website A Scattering of Seeds - The Creation of Canada.

Winston Tinglin
A tribute to Winston Tinglin, distinguished Ontario civil servant, community leader, and recipient of the Reverend John C. Holland Award. From the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Senator Donald H. Oliver, Q.C.
The official website for Senator Donald H. Oliver, Q.C. Features a biography, an overview of Black history in Canada, and much more.

People - Past and Present
Brief profiles of past and present prominent personalities in the Black community. From Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Mary Ann Shadd and the Provincial Freeman
Scroll down to page 61 to read about Mary Ann Shadd's tenacious struggle for African Canadian and African American civil rights. From Midnight to Dawn: The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad. From Google Books.

Sculpture being unveiled at BME Freedom Park in Chatham
An article about the unveiling of a bronze sculpture of historical figure Mary Ann Shadd Cary. The sculptress, Artis Lane, is a direct descendent of Shadd. From the Chatham-Kent Daily Post newspaper.

Anderson Ruffin Abbott
A biography of Anderson Ruffin Abbott, physician, educator, journalist, and office holder. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.

Anderson Ruffin Abbott
Download and read Anderson Ruffin Abbott: First Afro-Canadian Doctor, a book-length biography of the pioneer Canadian doctor. From the website for Associated Medical Services.

Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott
A brief history of the Abbott family’s life in the US and Canada. From the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society website.

Honouring Robert Sutherland
A news story about the renaming of the Policy Studies building to Robert Sutherland Hall in honour of Robert Sutherland, who graduated from Queen’s University in 1852. From the queensjournal.ca website.

Sutherland plaque unveiled
A news story about Robert Sutherland, the first Black man to graduate from Queen’s University and the first one to graduate in North America. From the queensjournal.ca website.

Who was Robert Sutherland?
A profile of Queen's alumnus Robert Sutherland. Also includes digitized archival material that relates to Sutherland’s legal career. From the Queen’s University website.

Elijah McCoy
A biography of noted African Canadian inventor, Elijah From the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame.

Elijah McCoy
Scroll down the page for a profile of inventor Elijah McCoy. From the website for the Norval Johnson Heritage Library.

Anderson Ruffin Abbot
Scroll down the page for a profile of Anderson Ruffin Abbot. From the website for the Norval Johnson Heritage Library.

The Honourable Mayann Francis
Scroll down the page for a profile of The Honourable Mayann Francis. From the website for the Norval Johnson Heritage Library.

The Honourable Mayann E. Francis, O.N.S., DHumL
The first African Nova Scotian, and only the second woman to hold the position in the province's more than 400-year history, Ms. Francis became lieutenant-governor in September of 2006.

Mayann Elizabeth Francis
A biography of the Honourable Mayann E. Francis, public servant, human rights specialist, lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

CBC: The Honourable Mayann E. Francis
Listen to a CBC interview with The Honourable Mayann E. Francis, lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia.

Springhill Mine Disaster: Maurice Ruddick
A 1958 photograph of injured miner, Maurice Ruddick, in hospital. From the website for Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management.

50 Bodies Found; 24 Missing
Read a local 1958 news story about the rescue of miners trapped by an explosion in a Springhill coal mine. From Library and Archives Canada.

Springhill, N.S., marks 50 years since mining disaster
Watch a CTV News story about the observance of the 50th anniversary of the Springhill Mine disaster.

Mine disaster like an earthquake
A news story that recalls the rescue of miners from the 1958 Springhill mine disaster. From the website for the Times & Transcript.

Leonard Braithwaite, CM, QC
Scroll down to page 3 of this newsletter for an article that highlights Leonard Braithwaite’s accomplishments in politics and civil rights. From the website for the Etobicoke Historical Society.

Leonard Braithwaite
Click on the link "Read More" for a detailed profile of the distinguished lawyer, public servant, and community leader Leonard Braithwaite. From the Ontario Black History Society.

Hansard: 25 February 2009: Black History Month
Click on “Black History Month” for Members’ Statements about Black History Month and prominent members of Ontario’s Black community. From the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Hansard: 17 February 2005: Leonard Braithwaite
Click on “Black History Month” for a Member’s Statement that features a tribute to Mr. Leonard Braithwaite, whose actions in the Legislature led to the disappearance of segregated schools in Ontario. From the website for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Honouring the Black Community
This article about the creation of Canada’s first Black alumni association at the University of Toronto includes a reference to Leonard Braithwaite (BComm 1950), Ontario’s first black MPP. From the University of Toronto. From the U of T Magazine.

Black Legal History
Scroll down for the article about Black legal history in Canada. From the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada.

Leonard Braithwaite
A brief profile of Leonard Braithwaite, the first Black elected to a Canadian provincial legislature. From the website Some Missing Pages.

Ship’s Co. mines spirit of Springhill
A 2008 review of the Ship’s Company Theatre’s production of Bump, a retelling of the 1958 Springhill mine disaster. From the website for the Ship’s Company Theatre.

Miracle At Springhill
Read a digitized copy of the book Miracle At Springhill written by Leonard Lerner. Includes references to “Maurice Ruddick, The Singing Miner.” From the Internet Archive website.

Daniel Hill
Scroll down to page 176 for a biography of Daniel Hill, former Ombudsman of Ontario and founder of the Ontario Black History Society. From the Encyclopedia of Canadian social work. From Google Books.

Ontario's Black History
Listen to a CBC Radio program with Prof. Daniel Hill discussing the Ontario Black History Society and issues of concern to the Black community in Canada.

Freedom Seekers
Scroll down the page for photographs of Daniel G. Hill and other members of the Ontario Black History Society. From the online exhibit The Freedom Seeker: The Life and Times of Daniel G. Hill at the website for the Archives of Ontario.

Emancipation Day Act, 2008
The Preamble to the Government of Ontario’s Emancipation Day Act, 2008. Includes a brief summary of noteworthy historical events of concern to the Black community in Ontario.

Delos Rogest Davis
Scroll down the page for an article about Delos Rogest Davis, written by one of his desendents. From The Talking Drum newsletter.

Crossing the border: a free Black community in Canada
Click over to page 185 to read about Anderson Abbott's move to Chatham and his eventual rise to a postion of prominence in that Onatrio community. From Google Books.

Women & Minorities
This speech pays tribute to Viola Desmond for her courageous challenge to racial segregation in Nova Scotia. From the Rideau Hall Blog website.

Excerpt: All of Me
This excerpt from Anne Murray’s autobiography All of Me includes an account of the recognition Maurice Ruddick received for helping to sustain his fellow miners awaiting rescue from the collapsed Springhill mine. From Random House of Canada.

The Springhill Mine Disaster of 1958: Final Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry
Read the entire Final Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Springhill Mine disaster of 1958. From the website History of Coal Mining in Nova Scotia.

Spring Hill Disaster
An article about Maurice Ruddick’s song "Spring Hill Disaster." Includes sheet music with lyrics. From the Canandian Folk Music Bulletin.

No More Pickin’ Coal
Sheet music with lyrics for the song “No More Pickin’ Coal” by Valerie Hope MacDonald, daughter of Maurice Ruddick. From the Canandian Folk Music Bulletin.

U2 - Springhill Mine Disaster
Watch a video of the band U2 performing the song “Springhill Mine Disaster,” written by Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger. From YouTube.

History Will Judge
A paper about the historic battle against racial intolerance and segregation in Canadian society. By Professor Constance Backhouse. From the website for the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Elijah McCoy
A biography of Canadian-born inventor Elijah McCoy from the website for the Ontario Black History Society.

Springhill
A profile of the Town of Springhill, NS. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Disaster Songs
An article about songs inspired by Canadian disasters. From the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.

The miracle miners
A CBC News story about the rescue of miners from the collapsed Springhill coal mine.

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.

African-Canadian Portrait Gallery
Pictures of outstanding Black Canadians. From Patricia Clark, Seneca College.

Who's Who in Black Canada
About a directory of prominent Black Canadians published by Dawn Williams.

Donovan Bailey
The website for Canadian Olympic champion Donovan Bailey.

1996 Atlanta: Donovan Bailey
The Historica Footprint about Donovan Bailey, 1996 Olympic gold medal winner.

Journey to Justice
Review of the National Film Board film about Stanley Grizzle and others who battled racial injustice. From the Manitoba Library Association.

Riding the Rails: Black Railroad Workers in Canada and the United States
About Stanley Grizzle’s struggle against racial discrimination in Canada. From the journal Labour / Le Travail.

Daniel Grafton Hill
A biography of Daniel Grafton Hill, first director of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Harry Winston Jerome
About legendary sprinter Harry Winston Jerome. From The History of Metropolitan Vancouver.

Harry Winston Jerome
Brief profile of Canadian track and field star Harry Winston Jerome. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Harry Jerome Awards
About the BBPA Harry Jerome Awards. From the Black Business & Professional Association.

About Harry Jerome - Never Give Up!
This profile of the great Canadian runner is from the Harry Jerome International Track Classic.

Ray Lewis
A brief note about Hamilton-born track and field champion Ray Lewis.

Canada's New Face of Hockey
About the NHL hockey career of Jarome Iginla. From The Tyee.ca.

Ray Lewis
A photograph of Olympic medal winner Ray Lewis. A Virtual Museum website.

Kay Livingstone
Dedicated to Canadian social activist and radio host Kay Livingstone. From Library and Archives Canada.

Elijah McCoy
A photograph and brief profile of Elijah McCoy from the modelesnoirs.org website.

Malcolm Mayes
View artwork by Malcolm Mayes, the Edmonton Journal’s editorial cartoonist. From the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists.

The Honourable Calvin Ruck
The Canadian Senate pays tribute to the late Honourable Calvin Ruck. From the Parliament of Canada.

Mary Shadd Cary
A biography of 19th-century Canadian editor and civil rights advocate Mary Shadd Cary. From Library and Archives Canada.

Mary Ann Shadd
Listen to this Historica Radio Minute about pioneer publisher and activist Mary Ann Shadd.

Mary Ann Shadd Cary: 1823-1893
About Mary Ann Shadd Cary, a Black teacher, political activist, and journalist. From SchoolNet News.

Mary Ann Shadd Cary: pushing the boundaries
This United Nations website offers a detailed biography of Mary Ann Shadd Cary.

Mary Ann Shadd
A review of Rosemary Sadlier’s book Mary Ann Shadd: Publisher, Editor, Teacher, Lawyer, Suffragette. From the Manitoba Library Association.

Mary Ann Shadd
Detailed biography of Black Canadian activist Mary Ann Shadd. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.

Alfred Schmitz Shadd
Profile of Alfred Schmitz Shadd, multitalented Black civic leader. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Alfred Schmitz Shadd
Detailed bio of prominent Black Canadian Alfred Schmitz Shadd. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.

The Underground Railroad
Brief article about the Underground Railroad. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Dorothy Williams: Building a library for all
Dorothy Williams talks about raising the profile of Black culture in Canadian libraries. From the McGill Reporter website.

Lincoln "Linc" MacCauley Alexander
About Lincoln Alexander, first Black MP and cabinet minister. From the McMaster Alumni Association.