African Canadians continue to make strides in every field. The following are but a few of the men and women who have made their mark in the areas of sports, pioneering, the labour movement and politics.
Featured below are a few African Canadians who have achieved excellence in the field of politics.
After an ankle injury put an end to his aspirations of playing for the Detroit Red Wings, Lionel Jones' love of athletics, led him to enrol in the Physical Education Programme at the University of Alberta. A year later, Jones left the programme, deciding instead to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree. A native of Alberta, Lionel Jones earned the distinction of becoming the first black male lawyer to be admitted to the Bar in Alberta in 1963. Jones' area of expertise pertained to federal law; which served him in good stead for the years that he practiced as a Crown prosecutor for the Provincial government. Having served with distinction for many years, in the province of Alberta; Lionel Jones was appointed a Provincial Judge to the Provincial Court of Alberta.
Born in Louisiana, U.S.A in 1929, Emery Barnes immigrated to Canada in 1957. Raised by a single mother, Emery Barnes is one of the founding members of the Black Historical and Cultural Society of British Columbia. He enjoyed considerable success while playing professional football for both the B.C Lions and the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Barnes excelled at high jumping and was also a member of the 1952 United States Olympic team. He received his Bachelor degree in Social Work from the University of British Columbia, and in 1972, joined the New Democrat Party in the British Columbia legislature. Among Mr. Barnes' many achievements is his election to the British Columbia legislature, a total of six times. In 1991, Barnes was appointed to the British Columbia legislature in the capacity of Deputy Speaker.
Barnes' message to African Canadian youth was:
" Dreams of hope can come true if you keep a clear vision of where you are going. Think positive and work through the ups and downs in life; believe in yourself."
Born in Toronto in 1922, Lincoln Alexander is a former lieutenant-governor of Ontario (1985-1991), as well as a former chairman of the Worker's Compensation Board of Ontario. He attended McMaster University (1949), and later Osgood Hall Law School in 1953. In 1968, Alexander became the first African Canadian elected to the House of Commons (he was the M.P. for Hamilton West). Alexander is also a member of the Order of Ontario. A lawyer by profession, Alexander credits his mother for guiding and inspiring him. He advises the youth as to some of the factors that contributed to his success. "I just made up my mind that I was as good as anyone if not better. I won't run away from the fact that I'm Black and be weak because I'm Black. I just assumed the rights and obligations belonged to me, and it was up to me to take advantage of them --knowing the road would be rough".
Anne Cools was born in Barbados in 1943. The fourth of six children, Anne was raised in the Anglican faith by her father (a pharmacist), and her mother (a homemaker). In 1957, the family immigrated to Canada. Known for her controversial and unpopular views, Cools became the first Black senator in 1983 at the age of forty. Anne Cools earned a degree in sociology and psychology from McGill University. In 1969, she participated in the sit-in at Sir George Williams University, later known as Concordia University. The sit- in was organized to protest the administration's lack of action with regards to several allegations of racism made by students. Despite the fact that she was not present when school property was vandalized, Cools served four months in prison for participating in the sit-in. Later, Cools was pardoned.
A social worker by profession, Anne Cools had become as a pioneer in the establishment of women's shelters in the 1970's. A champion of the disadvantaged, Anne was appointed to the Senate by Pierre Trudeau in 1984. In 1986, at the age of forty-three, Anne Cools married Rolf Calhoun, whom she had met at a Liberal Party function in the late seventies.
Additional Information on Anne Cools
COOLS, HON. ANNE CLARE, B.A. (Toronto Centre) B. Aug. 12, 1943 in Barbados, British West Indies. Dau. of Lucius Unique Cools and Rosita Gordon Miller. Ed. at Montessori School of the Ursuline Convent; Queen's Coll., Barbados and McGill Univ. M. Mar. 22, 1986 to Stuart Rolf Calhoun. A social worker. Political Career: Cand. fed. g.e. 1979 and 1980 and def. Summoned to the Senate Jan. 13, 1984 by Rt. Hon. P.E. Trudeau. Private Career: Exec. Dir., Women in Transition Inc., Toronto, 1974-84 and Special Projects Manager, 1985-90. Founding Vice-Chair and Mem., Exec. Ctee. Justice Comm. on Spousal Abuse, Field Insturctor: Faculty of Social Work, Univ. of Toronto, 1977-78; Social Service Depts., Seneca Coll., 1977-80 and Ryerson Polytechnical Inst., Toronto, 1978-80. Mem., Nat'l Parole Bd., 1980-84. Former Mem., Bd of Dir: Pauline McGibbon Cultural Centre and Social Planning Council of Metro Toronto. Mem., Advisory Council, Family Mediation-Can. Mem., Advisory Health Ctee, Native Council of Can. Hon. Patron and Mem., Prayer Book Soc. of Can. Mem: Empire Club of Can. and Royal Commonwealth Soc. of Can. Party: Lib. Relig: Ang. Address: Leg. Office: Rm. 178-F, Centre Block, The Senate, Ottawa, Ont., K1A 0A4, (613)992-2808, Fax: (613)992-8513.
Taken from the
Canadian Parliamentary Guide 1997.
In 1985, Alvin Curling was elected for the first time to the Ontario Legislature, representing the riding of Scarborough North. In his 1985 win, Curling earned the distinction of amassing the highest vote total in Canadian history. He was later re-elected in 1987, 1990 and in 1995. In his first term in office, Curling served as Ontario's Minister of Skills Development from 1987 to 1989. Literacy is one of the issues to which he is strongly committed, having been President of World Literacy of Canada from 1981 to 1984.
Born in 1939, Alvin is currently Chair of the Advisory Board to the Caribbean Cultural Committee. He received his formal education at Seneca College and York University. Alvin Curling in 1990 worked as a Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier and has also served as the Ontario Liberal Critic for the Solicitor General as well as for Human Rights. Currently, Alvin Curling is the Deputy Opposition House Leader.
Howard Douglas McCurdy,
Taken from: Canadian Parliamentary Guide, editors, Kathryn O'Handley and Caroline Sutherland, Spring 1993.
Born and raised in Metro Toronto, Councillor Davis serves Ward 28, York Eglinton. A stockbroker by profession, Davis because the first black councillor in the 200-year history of York in 1991. He was also one of the youngest elected officials in Ontario. In his political career, Davis served on many committees, including the Administrative Services Committee, Works and Parks Committee, Northwestern General Hospital, York Library and St. Clair Community Youth Services. Councillor Davis now sits on the Council of the new City of Toronto.
Interesting Web Sites
The Communist Party
Program of Canada (promoting Minority Language and Ethnic Rights)
Why was the Racial
Hatred Act Introduced?
More interesting links:
Materials prepared by Shona Miller.
York University 2002