Black History Month begins on the first of February, but it was launched with a major event at Hamilton City Hall Monday.
On the program was steel drumming by Luckystickz, food, vendors and information booths. There was also an unveiling of “We Are Hamilton — Black History Remembered,” a joint project by the City of Hamilton and local Black-led organizations. As part of the project 16 prominent members of the Black community who made major contributions to the Black community as well as the rest of Hamilton are being commemorated by banners on light standards along James Street North.
The 16 honorees are:
Anita Isaac (1939-2020), educator and health-care worker.
Jack “Jackie” Washington (1919-2009), musician and Canada’s first Black disc jockey.
Sophia Burthen Pooley (c1772-c1860), slave to Haudenosaunee/Mohawk leader Thayendanegea/Joseph Brant and Ancaster’s Samuel Hatt, legally freed in 1834.
Cynthia Taylor (1925-2002), educator.
Denise J. Brooks (1956-2020), executive director of Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre.
Eleanor Rodney (1938-2020), teacher and founder of the youth organization African Caribbean Cultural Potpourri Inc. (ACCPI).
Ethilda (Tillie) Johnson (1929-2016), entrepreneur and honorary doctor of law.
Fleurette Osborne (1927-2019), activist and author.
John Christie Holland (1882-1954), pastor and railway porter.
Julia Washington Berry (c1856-c1950), mother and toll keeper.
Neville Nunes (1931 -2016), educator who developed curriculum on the area’s Black heritage.
Norman “Pinky” Lewis (1898-1977), Tiger Cats and McMaster University trainer.
Ray Johnson (1934-2006), McMaster Marauders football coach.
Rev. Robert Foster (1920-2002), businessperson, coach and pastor.
Vince Hall (1936- 2002), community leader.
Wilma Morrison (1929-2020), Black heritage preservationist.
At the launch event speakers included the president of the Afro Canadian Caribbean Association Evelyn Myrie, Gary Warner of McMaster, Lyndon George, executive director of the Hamilton Anti-Racism Resource Centre and Ainara Alleyne, creator of Ainara’s Bookshelf.
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