Often when we think of Black History, we refer to popular American black historians such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, etc. These are indeed amazing individuals who undoubtedly made monumental, invaluable contributions to the progress we've seen in the last century in the equitable treatment and progression of people of colour. Unfortunately, Canada's rich story of Black History and historians is consequently often overlooked.
The 1st recorded Black person to arrive in Canada is said to be an African named Mathieu de Coste who arrived in 1608 to serve as interpreter of the Mi'kmaq language to the governor of Acadia.
"Black Canadians" is a designation used for people of full or partial Sub-Saharan African descent, who are citizens or permanent residents of Canada. The majority of Black Canadians are of Caribbean origin, though the population also consists of African-American immigrants and their descendants (including Black Nova Scotians), as well as many native African immigrants.
Often, children and youth of colour that come from under-served/at-risk communities or broken families find it difficult to envision themselves in prestigious positions and careers. Below are mini bios of some for the most iconic Black Canadians past and present - including a number of inventors, doctors, lawyers, activist, athlete, entertainers. artists and many more (in no particular order). This list has been compiled not only as a resource to children and youth but also to remind these bright minded youth that they can be anything they put their minds and effort to. Sky is the limit!!
Deborah Cox, singer, songwriter, actor (born 13 July 1974 in Toronto, ON). Deborah Cox is one of Canada’s top R&B artists, and has received multiple Juno Awards and Grammy Award nominations. She is well known for her powerful, soulful voice and sultry ballads. “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” from her second album, One Wish (1998), set a record as the longest-running No. 1 R&B single in the United States, staying atop the Billboard R&B Singles chart for 14 consecutive weeks. She has had six top 20 Billboard R&B singles and 12 No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart. She is also a successful actor who has appeared in numerous films and on Broadway. A longstanding supporter of LGBTQ rights, she has received numerous honours for her charitable work and activism.
Henry Winston Jerome OC (September 30, 1940 – December 7, 1982), known as Harry Jerome, was a Canadian school teacher and track and field runner who competed in three Olympic Games, the British Empire and Commonwealth Games and the Pan-American Games during the 1960s. Jerome was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, the son of Harry Vincent Jerome and Elsie Ellen Howard, and moved to North Vancouver, British Columbia, at age 12. His grandfather was John Howard, a railway porter, who represented Canada in the 1912 Summer Olympics. His sister, Valerie Jerome, was also an Olympian who competed for Canada at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Harry Jerome died of a brain aneurysm on December 7, 1982, at the age of 42, in North Vancouver
This women’s hockey pioneer is often called the “Wayne Gretzky of women’s hockey.” Angela James earned the nickname after scoring a stunning 50 goals and 73 points in just 14 games during a season at Seneca College. She made an international mark too, helping lead Canada to gold four times at the Women’s World Championship. In 2010, James became one of first two women, the first openly gay player, and only the second Black athlete ever to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame
Phillips has worked as a costume designer for both film and television.. The Toronto-based costume designer has worked on the sets of several films like Walking Tall, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, where she was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Achievement in Costume Design. Currently, Phillips works on the set of Star Trek: Discovery and was nominated for a Costume Designers Guild Award for Excellence in Sci-fi/Fantasy TV.
Lester Brown was thought to be the last surviving black Canadian veteran to have fought in the D-Day invasion.Rifleman Lester Brown had been drafted at 23 and later assigned to the Queen’s Own Rifles before being shipped to Europe in 1944.
Brown and another soldier came under fire by a German ambush after hurrying towards an alleid tanker on the roadside. The other soldier was killed, Brown survived although he was shot in in his chin.
(Drake) Aubrey Drake Graham
Aubrey Drake Graham (born October 24, 1986) is a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, actor, and businessman. Drake initially gained recognition as an actor on the teen drama television series Degrassi: The Next Generation in the 2000s; intent on pursuing a career in music, he left the series in 2007 after releasing his debut mixtape Room for Improvement. He released two further independent projects, before signing to Young Money Entertainment in June 2009. Drake released his debut studio album Thank Me Later in 2010, which debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and was soon certified platinum. His next two releases, 2011's Take Care and 2013's Nothing Was the Same, were critically and commercially successful; the former earned him his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. His fourth album, Views (2016), broke several chart records. The dancehall-influenced album sat atop the Billboard 200 for 13 nonconsecutive weeks, becoming the first album by a male solo artist to do so in over 10 years. The album's second single, "One Dance", topped the charts in several countries, and became his first number-one single as a lead artist. That year, Drake led both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard 200 charts simultaneously for eight weeks. Its lead single "Hotline Bling" peaked at number two on the Hot 100 and received Grammy Awards for Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Rap Song. In 2018, he released the double album Scorpion, which included the Grammy Award winning number-one single "God's Plan", and the bounce-infused number one singles "Nice for What" and "In My Feelings". Among the world's best-selling music artists, with over 170 million records sold, Drake is ranked as the world's highest-certified digital singles artist by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). As an entrepreneur, Drake founded the OVO Sound record label with longtime collaborator 40 in 2012.
Jean Augustine PC CM CBE is a Gredian-Canadian education administration, advocate for social justice, and politician. Born in Greneda in 1937, she immigrated to Canada in 1960 and studied at University of Toronto where she attained her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education. She worked as an elementary school Principal after university and also sat on the committee for the 1st Caribbean Festival. Alongside caucus colleague Hedy Fry, she was one of the first two Black Canadian Canadian women elected to the house of Commons. She served in that role as a Liberal member of the House of Commons from 1993 to 2006. She also served as parliamentary Secretary go Prime Minister Jean Chretien from 1994 to 1996
WondaGurl (Ebony Oshunrinde)
Brampton-born producer WondaGurl (née Ebony Oshunrinde) is definitely one to watch. She got her big break at the ripe age of 16 when a track sent to Travis Scott, an American rapper, ended up in the hands of rap legend, Jay-Z. “It was weird,” she said in an interview for our March 2016 cover. “It didn’t feel like my beat anymore because you never imagine Jay Z using your stuff—especially at 16.” She went on to produce two songs for Drake’s 2015 album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and worked with Rihanna and Big Sean. The now 21-year-old is still producing and working toward the ultimate goal: working with Kanye West.
Anne Cools has had some pretty cool and reallly awesome achievements throughout her life. She's the 1st black person appointed to the Senate of Canada and the first black female senator in North America. She’s also its longest-serving member.
A native of Barbados, she was raised in Montreal, and as a student she was active in Canada’s civil rights demonstrations including a 1969, 10-day sit-in at Sir George Williams University.
In 1974, founded one of the first shelters for abused women in Canada, Women in Transition Inc., and served as its executive director
Mitzie Hunter immigrated to Canada with her family from Jamaica when she was just four years old. Before becoming a politician, the U of T grad was the CEO of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance, where she dedicated herself to social, economic, and environmental issues. Elected to the Liberal government in 2013, Hunter was just recently promoted to the minister of advanced education and skills development, where she will work on issues like providing free post-secondary school tuition to students in need.
Henry Bibb was an author and abolitionist who was born a slave and escaped to freedom in Canada in the 1800s.
He also published his autobiography Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, An American Slave, Written by Himself, which became one of the best-known slave narratives of the time. Becoming a publisher in 1851, he set up the first black newspaper in Canada, The Voice of the Fugitive. The paper included news and commentary against the slave trade and was a resource for other escaped slaves who’d settled in the country
People often don't associate Slavery with Canada however Marie-Joseph Angelique's story is important reminder that black people were infact enslaved in Canada for many years.
Angelique, born in Portugal around 1705, she was sol multiple times, before being left to her slave masters widow, Therese de Couagne in Montreal and charged with arson after a large fire in the city. The allegations were that she set the fire trying to escape slavery after being refused a request for her freedom, though she denied setting the fire she was tortured by means of brodequins, and forced to confess to her crimes. She begged the pardon of God, the king, and the people. Angélique was then hanged and her body displayed on a gibbet for two hours, burned and her ashes scattered to the wind.
You've probably heard the His name before. Lawyer Lincoln Alexander made history three times in his political career, as the first black member of Parliament, cabinet minister, and provincial lieutenant-governor for Ontario.
Alexander, who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force before attending law school, was re-elected four times and also served as chair of the Ontario Workers' Compensation Board and chancellor of the University of Guelph during his long and varied career.
Portia White was an accomplished Nova Scotian classical concert performer who was born in Truro, N.S. and raised with her siblings in Halifax by her parents, Rev. William and Izzie White. A former schoolteacher who taught in segregated schools, Portia catapulted to international stardom after triumphant debuts in Toronto (1941) and New York (Town Hall, 1944) She performed memorably throughout Canada, the US, the Caribbean and South America. Named by reviewers as the “new star of the concert stage,” White’s achievement was rare in a period when race and gender defined women’s place in society. She has been recognized as a Person of National Historic Significance by the Canadian government and was commemorated on a Canadian postage stamp.
Halifax-born Viola Desmond was an entrepreneur who found success in running her own hair salon. The trained beautician opened a beauty school where she was a mentor to many black Canadian women. But across the country, Desmond is remembered for bravely challenging segregation: while at a movie theatre in 1946 in New Glasgow, N.S., she was forcibly removed after sitting on the ground floor—the whites-only section. Although Desmond offered to pay the one-cent difference in tax, she was still arrested and sentenced to 30 days in jail and charged a $26 fine. In 2018, She became the first Canadian woman to appear on the face of a Canadian banknote.
Donovan Bailey is one of the world's all-time greatest and most dominant sprinting legends. Track and Field News named Bailey Sprinter of the Decade (90’s). The first man in history to be world champion, Olympic champion and world record holder at the same time. He is a two-time Olympic champion, three time world champion, and two time world record holder. He's also the only person to be inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame twice. In 1996 Bailey achieved the fastest top speed ever recorded in history at 27.07 mph, only surpassed by Usain Bolt. Bailey also broke the indoor 50 metre world record in a time of 5.56 seconds, a record that still stands today. Since retirement in 2001, he has worked as a commentator for CBC, CTV and Eurosport. He also serves as a board advisor for several companies. Donovan is involved with and supports many charitable associations.
Sam Langford was born in Nova Scotia and moved to the United States as a teenager. He was a highly touted heavyweight boxer, though discriminatory policies prevented him from being allowed to contend for championships.
Langford continued to box even after an injury led to the loss of sight in his right eye. He died in 1956 at the age of 72.
Born into slavery in 1789, as an adult Josiah Henson became a leader for black Americans escaping enslavement. Henson escaped to Canada in 1830, and founded the Dawn Settlement near Dresden, Ont. to provide a home for others like him.
He co-organized a trade-labour school and served on its executive, and made fundraising trips to the U.S. and England as the spiritual leader for Dawn. Some believe that Henson was the model for the lead character in the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Born in 1977 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, the daughter of an employee of the Canadian Broadcasting Company grew up listening to classical music on CBC radio. When her remarkable sense of pitch and fearlessness as a performer were recognized by her first-grade teacher, her parents were encouraged to sign her up for both piano and singing lessons. At the age of fifteen she decided in favour of a singing career and subsequently studied at the University of Toronto with soprano Mary Morrison and after graduation continued her musical education with soprano and Lieder expert Edith Wiens in Germany. She later also worked with such distinguished musicians as Margaret Baker-Genovesi, Christoph Eschenbach, Brigitte Fassbaender, Margo Garrett, Håkan Hagegård, Jessye Norman, Rudolf Piernay, Thomas Quasthoff and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
Mary Ann Shadd
Mary Ann Shadd was born in 1823 in the slave state of Delaware to “free” parents, whose home was a safehouse on the Underground Railroad. The eldest of 13 kids, Shadd eventually moved to Windsor and opened a racially integrated school. By 1853, she founded and edited the Provincial Freeman, a weekly newspaper that was anti-slavery and publicized the successes of Black people in Canada, making her the first woman to publish a newspaper in the country. Before her death in Washington D.C. in 1893, she became one of the first Black women to earn a law degree. In 1994, she was honoured as a person of national historic significance in Canada.
Dr. Alvin Curling
He was elected to the Ontario legislature in the provincial election of 1985 as a Liberal in the suburban Toronto riding of Scarborough North. Curling defeated Progressive Conservative candidate Carole Noble by about 8,000 votes. His personal total of 30,504 votes was a provincial record at the time.
The Liberals formed a minority government after this election, and Curling was appointed Minister of Housing on June 26, 1985. He was the first Black Canadian to hold a cabinet-level position in Ontario. During his time as minister of Housing, he expanded the parameters of Ontario's rent control program, and announced a $500 million initiative for new urban housing. Curling was easily re-elected in the provincial election of 1987, and was appointed Minister of Skills Development on September 29, 1987. He served in this capacity until August 2, 1989, when he was dropped from cabinet.
Director X (Julien Christian Lutz)
Director X or Julien Christian Lutz was born on October 31st, 1975 in Toronto, Canada, and is of Trinidadian and Swiss descent. Moving to New York City, he became the protégé of pioneering director Hype Williams. X has been noted for directing high-budget, visually distinctive videos for popular artists, including: Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Fifth Harmony, Wiz Khalifa, Usher, John Mayer, Korn, Iggy Azalea, Sean Paul and many more.
His work has been nominated and awarded by the MTV Music Video Awards and Much Music Video Awards. X has directed commercials for Apple Music, Ebay, Virginia Black and Gap’s noteworthy ‘Meet Me In The Gap’ campaign. As a film director, X made his directorial debut in 2014 with an edgy drama titled ACROSS THE LINE which won Best Feature at the Atlantic Film Festival 2015.
Melanie Fiona Hallim (born July 4, 1983) is a Canadian singer and songwriter. She was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. She began her career in 2002 as part of the girl group trio X-Quisite, who was nominated for a Juno Award for R&B/Soul Recording of the Year for the group's self-titled album. She went on to be part of The Renaissance (with rapper Drake), and under the name Syren Hall, recorded some reggae songs. Hallim's debut solo album The Bridge was released in 2009.. Her debut single, "Give It to Me Right", was sent to radio stations on February 28, 2009, and peaked at number 20 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart and number 41 on the UK Singles Chart. The second single, "It Kills Me", became her breakout song on the Billboard Hot 100 where it entered the Top 50, along with topping the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The song earned Hallim a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. The Bridge also earned her a NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding New Artist. In 2012, Hallim won two Grammy Awards for Best Traditional R&B Performance and Best R&B Song for the song "Fool for You" with CeeLo Green.
William Hall was the 1st black person to receive the Victoria Cross. He was born in Nova Scotia to former slaves who left the United States because of the War of 1812. He became a sailor in his twenties, eventually joining the Royal Navy. He was awarded the Victoria Cross after securing a British garrison in Lucknow, India, while serving on HMS Shannon. Hall was one of two sailors to survive the attack, but was the only one able to continue to fight. He fought until the garrison was safe. Hall died in 1904 at the age of 77.
Michaëlle Jean was born September 6, 1957 and came to Canada from Haiti as a refugee in 1968. She is a Canadian stateswoman and former journalist who was the third Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie from 2015 until 2019. She was the first woman to hold the position and held the position until the end of 2018. From 2005 to 2010, Jean was Governor General of Canada, the 27th since Canadian Confederation.
Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott
Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott was the 1st black Canadian to be a licensed physician, and 1 of only 13 black surgeons to serve in the Civil War as a contracted independence doctor. Born in Toronto, he had a very prestigious career, serving as surgeon-in-chief at Provident Hospital in Chicago, the first training hospital for black nurses in the United States, in the mid-1800s, as well as starting a private practice in Canada upon his return to the country in the late 1800s. He became involved with writing for several publications including the Colored American Magazine of Boston and New York, the Anglo-American Magazine of London, and the New York Age, about black history, the Civil War, Darwinism, biology, and poetry
Zanana Akande has dedicated her life to social issues.“This time, we’ll leave no woman behind,” activist and former politician Akande said at the 2018 Toronto Women’s March. She was the 1st black woman to be elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 1990. After leaving politics in 1994, she stayed committed to working with many community-based groups, like the Urban Alliance on Race Relations. As seen at the Women’s March, Akande can still be found using her voice for activism; she’s currently working as the chair of the Black Legal Action Centre, a new non-profit set to launch later this year.
Lori Seale-Irving was born and raised in Ottawa. Her father was a Royal Canadian Air Force Officer (retired Major), so she grew up on a military base. Wanting a career that would allow her to help people in her community, Seale-Irving joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 1990. Her career has included many postings, including some in sections devoted to general duty policing, war crimes, marine security, Prime Minister’s protection and management support.
Seale-Irving was promoted to the rank of Inspector in 2007, making her the first self-identified Black female RCMP member to become a commissioned officer.
Elijah McCoy (The Real McCoy)
Born in Colchester, Ontario, Elijah McCoy showed an early interest in machines and tools and an aptitude for mechanics. At a time when it was difficult for Black people to obtain training in the United States, his parents sent him to Edinburgh, Scotland to study mechanical engineering.
Upon his return to North America, he took a job as a fireman with the railroad in Michigan. The “fireman” was the person who shovelled the coal to power the locomotive and who lubricated the moving parts during frequent stops. Elijah soon saw that he could put his knowledge and education to work by improving this lubricating process. He developed and patented a particular type of lubricating cup that dripped oil onto the moving parts of a train while it was in motion.
That was just one of the more than 50 products he developed and patented including the ironing board, which be allegedly invented in response to his wife’s desire for an easier way to iron clothes. McCoy held patents, not just in Canada and the U.S. but also in France, Austria, Germany, Great Britain and Russia.
Harriet Ross Tubman
Harriet Tubman, formerly enslaved from Maryland, became known as the “Moses” of her people and the “conductor” who led hundreds of enslaved Blacks to freedom along the Underground Railroad. In 1850, when the far-reaching United States Fugitive Law was passed, she guided runaway enslaved people further north into Canada. When angry slave owners posted rewards for her capture, she continued her work despite great personal risk.
St. Catharines, Ontario (a town close to the border with the United States) was on the route and offered employment opportunities, making it a common destination for the former fugitives, including Harriet Tubman, who lived there from 1851 to 1857. Many of the people she rescued were relatives of those already in St. Catharines including her own parents, brothers and sisters and their families.
Later, Tubman became a leader in the Abolitionist movement. During the Civil war she worked as a nurse and served as a spy for the Union forces in South Carolina.
Ashley McKenzie - Barnes
With over a decade of integrated work advertising, experiential, entertainment, corporate, publishing and non-profit sectors, Scarborough born Ashley McKenzie-Barnes has conceptualized and executed large global campaigns across print, digital, social, video, web and much more for large brands like Virgin Radio, TedXToronto, Scotia Bank and Bell Media. In addition, she's programmed exhibitions and installations for SamSung, Art Galleryy of Ontario, Harbourfront and Manifesto Festival. Her work across the spectrum is absolutely breathtaking. Most recently, Ashley curated the 2019 theme for Nuit Blanche Scarborough - "Kings and Queens of Scarborough", which challenged systems of social marginalization, self-identity negotiation and racial stereotyping with a modern framework.
Trey Anthony (born 1983) is a playwright, actor, and producer, best known for her award-winning play and television series Da Kink in My Hair. As a producer, she worked for the Women's Television Network and the Urban Women's Comedy Festival. She founded Trey Anthony Studios, a television and theater production company dedicated to producing new works of theater. Born in London, England to Jamaican parents, Anthony arrived in Canada at 12 years old with her mother. She began doing stand-up comedy during African Nubian Comedy Nights where she honed her comedic wit and timing. She soon became a crowd favorite and began writing and producing her own sketch comedy shows at Second City. She's a recipient of the prestigious Harry Jerome Award for the arts. In 2017, Anthony launched her new brand, Black Girl in Love, which features the first lifestyle planner/organizer geared at professional black woman and also includes merchandise, workshops and retreats. She was also a writer and performer for Kenny Robinson's sketch comedy show After Hours with Kenny Robinson and a writer for The Chris Rock Show.In 2017, her play How Black Mothers Say I Love You debuted at the Factory Theatre, Toronto. She is currently working on turning How Black Mothers say I Love You into a feature film.
Dwayne Morgan is a two-time Canadian National Poetry Slam Champion. He began his career as a spoken word artist in 1993. In 1994, he founded Up From The Roots entertainment, to promote the positive artistic contributions of African Canadian and urban influenced artists. In 2019, he founded and co-produced the inaugural Toronto Spoken Soul Festival. Morgan is the 2018 winner of the Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award for Career Achievement in the Spoken Word. In 2016, Morgan was a finalist for the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 2013, Morgan was inducted in to the Scarborough Walk of Fame. Morgan has received both the African Canadian Achievement Award, and the Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 2012, Morgan performed at Super Bowl 46, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
He is also is the winner of 3 Canadian Urban Music Awards (2001, 2003, 2005). In 2005, Morgan was recognized as Poet of Honour at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Vancouver, and in 2008 his contribution to the Arts and Canadian society were recognized on the Legacy Black History Month poster. He has written 12 books and performed performed for the former Governor General of Canada, The Honourable Michaelle Jean, the late leader of the NDP, Jack Layton, and has shared the stage with many of Canada’s top artists including Russell Peters, Kardinal Offishal, Jully Black, and Nelly Furtado, while opening for international artists Alicia Keys, and recording with Canadian artists, including Drake. Dwayne’s work ethic has taken him across Canada, the United States, Jamaica, Turkey, Trinidad, Bermuda, Barbados, England, Scotland, Belgium, Budapest, Germany, France, Norway, Ghana, and Holland.
Rev. Addie Aylestock
Believe it or not, it wasn't until 1951 that the 1st black woman was ordained in this country. Mabel Adeline (Addie) Aylestock was ordained in the British Methodist Episcopal Church in 1951 and the first woman ordained in that church after they changed their rules earlier that year.
Aylestock worked in congregations in Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia throughout her career. Her family members were also trailblazers: her sister Rella Braithwaite wrote several books about African Canadians, and her niece Diana Braithwaite is a blues musician and television director.
Politician Rosemary Brown had to deal with racism and sexism on her path to becoming both the first black female member of a provincial legislature and the first woman to run for leadership of a federal party. Brown immigrated to Canada from Jamaica as a young adult, and first became well known as a political commentator and activist, co-founding the Vancouver Status of Women Council. She continued her work in national and international human rights after retiring from politics, heading both the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the MATCH International Women's Fund. Brown died in 2003 in Vancouver.
Celina R. Caesar-Chavannes (born June 24, 1974) is a Canadian politician who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the riding of Whitby in the House of Commons of Canada from 2015 to 2019. Elected as a Liberal in the 2015 federal election, she later sat as an independent member.
As a member of the Liberal caucus, she was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister in December 2015 and served in that role until January 26, 2017, when she became Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development. On August 31, 2018, Caesar-Chavannes returned to the backbenches after the Prime Minister decided to shuffle his parliamentary secretaries. On March 2, 2019, Caesar-Chavannes announced that she would not be seeking re-election in 2019 and almost three weeks later, on March 20, the Prime Minister's Office announced that she had decided to resign from the Liberal caucus.
Michee Mee (Michelle McCullock)
Michelle McCullock popularly known by her stage name Michie Mee was born on 1st of November, 1970 in Jamaica. Michelle is a Canadian Rapper and actress.
Michie Mee’s net worth is estimated to be $5 million. She is known for her acting in Chicks with sticks. She is also considered as a national Hip Hop Pioneer. Michie Mee started performing professionally at the age of 14. Boogie Down Production introduced her to the audience in Toronto during a concert on 1985. Where she performed on the stage. Later, she collaborated with DJ L.A. luv. The duo was featured on Canadian hip hop compilation Break n Out. The duo released their debut album Jamaican funk-Canadian style in 1991. More than 60,000 copies of the album were sold in the US and even nominated for Juno Award in 1992. She continues to create relevant music that stays true to her Jamaican-Canadian roots and who she is. Michie Mee made her film debut through movie In Too Deep in 1999. Later, she was starred in the CBC Television series Drop The Beat, playing the rapper name Divine. She was featured in many movies like Love disease, Chicks with Sticks, etc.
Michael "Pinball" Clemons
Michael “Pinball” Clemons, O Ont, football player, coach, motivational speaker (born 15 January 1965 in Dunedin, Florida). Michael Clemons is one of the most accomplished athletes in Canadian Football League (CFL) history and the first African American to coach in the Grey Cup. Known to many simply as “Pinball,” he is a CFL Hall of Famer and four-time Grey Cup winner with the Toronto Argonauts, earning three championships as a player (1991, 1996, 1997) and one as a head coach (2004). He is the all-time leader in total combined yards in CFL history (25,438). Clemons, a naturalized Canadian citizen, moved into an executive role in the Argonauts’ front office after retiring from coaching. He is involved with a number of charities, including the Pinball Clemons Foundation.
Albert Jackson, letter carrier (born c. 1857–58 in Delaware; died 14 January 1918 in Toronto , ON). Albert Jackson is thought to be the first Black letter carrier in Canada (see Postal System). Jackson was born into enslavement in the United States, and escaped to Canada with his mother and siblings when he was a toddler in 1858. In 1882, Jackson was hired as a letter carrier in Toronto, but his co-workers refused to train him on the job. While his story was debated in the press for weeks, the Black community in Toronto organized in support of Jackson, meeting with Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald to have Jackson reinstated. Jackson returned to his post days later and served as a letter carrier for almost 36 years.
Ferguson Arthur "Fergie" Jenkins CM (born December 13, 1942) is a Canadian former professional baseball pitcher and coach, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, and Boston Red Sox (1965–1983).
Jenkins played the majority of his career for the Cubs. He was a National League (NL) and Cubs All-Star for three seasons, and in 1971, he was the first Canadian and Cubs pitcher to win a Cy Young Award. He was a 20-game winner for seven seasons, including six consecutive seasons for the Cubs. He was the NL leader in wins, in 1971, and the American League (AL) leader in wins, in 1974. He was also the NL leader in complete games in 1967, 1970, and 1971, and the AL leader in complete games in 1974. He led the NL in strikeouts in 1969 and had over 3,000 strikeouts during his career.
Jenkins also played basketball in the off-season for the Harlem Globetrotters from 1967 to 1969, and pitched two seasons in Canada for the minor league London Majors following his major league career. In 1991, Jenkins became the first (and as of 2019, only) Canadian to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Kathleen (Kay) Livingstone (née Jenkins), organizer and activist, broadcaster, actor (born 13 October 1919 in London, ON; died 25 July 1975). Kay Livingstone founded the Canadian Negro Women’s Association in 1951 and organized the first National Congress of Black Women in 1973. An established radio broadcaster and actor, Livingstone also devoted a great deal of her life and energy to social activism and organizing. Her tireless work to encourage a national discussion around the position of racialized people in society, particularly Black women, led Livingstone to coin the term visible minority in 1975.
Dr. Oliver Jones is one of Canada’s‚ best-known jazz pianists. Born and raised in Saint-Henri, a predominantly working class area of Montreal.. Oscar Peterson’s sister, Daisy Peterson Sweeney, became his first piano teacher, with lessons continuing for the next 12 years. These lessons solidified young Oliver’s skills, which were already considerable; Oliver was performing publicly at age five, and by the time he had his first nightclub appearance, he was only nine years-old. Oliver’s six-decade musical career has been rich and varied. His classical music education was followed by stints at Montreal’s Café St-Michel, enthralling patrons with his acrobatic piano stunts. From his teens to his early twenties, Oliver could play anything from swing to rock-n-roll; in those days playing jazz was not considered a viable career.
His diverse training proved invaluable when, in 1964, the opportunity to become musical director and pianist for Jamaican singer Kenny Hamilton presented itself. Oliver, with his wife and young son in tow, moved to Puerto Rico and continued with the Hamilton band for the next sixteen years. In 1980, he returned to Montreal, determined to pursue jazz professionally. During the course of his career, Oliver played with many jazz greats including Charlie Biddle, Dave Young, Ray Brown, Ed Thigpen, Clark Terry, Ranee Lee, and others. Having toured internationally, he has performed in South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Carrie Mae Best (née Prevoe), OC, ONS, LLD, human rights activist, author, journalist, publisher and broadcaster (born 4 March 1903 in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia; died 24 July 2001 in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia). Sparked by incidents of racial discrimination, Carrie Best became a civil rights activist. Co-founder of The Clarion, one of the first newspapers in Nova Scotia owned and published by Black Canadians, she used the platform to advocate for Black rights. As editor, she publicly supported Viola Desmond in her case against the Roseland Theatre. Best used her voice in radio and print to bring positive change to society in Nova Scotia and Canada
John Ware was born in 1845 was an African-American cowboy best remembered for his ability to ride and train horses and for bringing the first cattle to Southern Alberta in 1882, helping to create that province's important ranching industry. Ware was born into slavery on a plantation near Georgetown, South Carolina. After the American Civil War he left the Carolinas for Texas where he learned the skills of a rancher and became a cowboy. Ware's great stature and dedication to hard work made him a natural and allowed him to work his way up to Canada driving cattle from Texas to Montana and then into the great plains that would eventually become Alberta. Upon his arrival in Calgary he found work at the Bar U and Quorn ranches before starting his own ranch near the Red Deer river. By 1900, he and his wife, Mildred Lewis, had five children. He moved from the Calgary area to a spot northeast of the village of Duchess, Alberta. In 1902 his first home was destroyed by the spring flood. He rebuilt on higher ground overlooking a stream, now called Ware Creek. Three years later Mildred died of pneumonia in the spring; despite being a master horseman John was killed in the fall when his horse tripped in a badger hole crushing its rider and breaking his neck.
It is said that he was never tossed from a wild horse and that he popularized steer wrestling, which would then become a highlight of the Calgary Stampede. Born into slavery, Ware worked his way to being one of the most well-respected figures in frontier Alberta, crossing race lines thanks to his good nature and hard work.
RESOURCES: Information found on this page has been compiled from the following sources:
Government of Canada - Canadian Heritage -- https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/black-history-month/black-canadians.html
The Canadian Encyclopedia - https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/collection/black-history-in-canada
The Canadian Huffington Post - https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2018/02/27/black-canadians_a_23372125/
CBC News Canada - https://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/black-history-month/
Mysteries of Canada - https://www.mysteriesofcanada.com/canada/famous-black-canadians/
Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Canadians