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Famous Black Canadians

On the topic of famous black Canadians, the first that often come to people’s mind is Harry Jerome. Well before Donovan Bailey or Ben Johnson, Jerome was Mr. Canada and the world’s fastest man at the same time. He’s birthplace was in Prince Albert, Sask., and lives in Vancouver. He has participated in the 1964 Olympics and won a bronze model and then two years later, he snagged gold at the 1966 Commonwealth Games.

This list wouldn’t be complete without Portia White. Truro, Nova Scotia is her hometown. At a young age, she started singing for her father’s African Baptist church choir and later performed as concert singer worldwide. By profession, she is a teacher in rural Halifax schools. Ms. White soon realizes her great potential with the support shown of Nova Scotia Talent Trust and the Ladies’ Musical Clubs.

One of the biggest appearances that she has made was at the opening of Charlottetown’s Confederation Center for the Arts in 1964. This was also the same time when Queen Elizabeth II attended the event.

Elijah McCoy has a somewhat unfortunate fate as he was been a slave in Kentucky in Colchester, Ontario but he didn’t stayed as such as he managed to escape in 1843. And even though he has a degree in engineering which he received from Scotland, McCoy wasn’t able to get any job than a railway fireman in Canada.

Being a mechanic he is in 1870s, he soon noticed that machines should stop every time it needed oil. He then made a device to oil machinery while it’s working and sooner or later, no machine or engine was complete until it had installed with a McCoy Lubricator.

William Hall made a history in 1857 for being the very first black Canadian sailor and also, the first famous black Canadian to be given the Victoria Cross. He’s born in Horton Bluff, N.S and joined the Royal Navy even when he’s just a teen. In addition to joining the Royal Navy, he was actually decorated for his courage and bravery during Crimean War.

Mary Ann Shadd was another black Canadian and the very first woman publisher to ever exist in North America. She establishes the Provincial Freeman, which is an abolitionist newspaper along with Reverend Ringgold Ward in 1853. She was born in Delaware in 1823 and then in 1851, she moved to Canada to which she has opened an integrated school.

After she survived the American Civil War, she returned to her real passion, teaching; from there she became the first woman to enroll in Howard University law school.

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