What is some information about the Black community of Newfoundland and Labrador,Canada from its start to the early twenty-first century?
- connieLv 74 years agoFavorite Answer
This article applies to the mindset of the Canadian press towards all black Canadians:
Canadian media covers a string subjects with regular frequency. Hockey and weather get daily coverage. Entertainment, national and local political reports are aplenty. But there is one issue that falls through the cracks in the Canadian press's editorial room: racism. Specifically when it comes to Black Canadians, the rule of Omertà reigns. Last week, a Torontonian was published in The Guardian, a U.K. newspaper, in an op-ed audaciously entitled "Why I hate being a black man." Orville Lloyd Douglas laments the projection of negativity associated with his race and gender. Why is it that the U.K.'s newspaper is willing to publish a painfully honest editorial about race in Canada but Canadian papers aren't? Before Mr. Douglas was published in the U.K., he submitted his personal op ed to Canadian newspapers. None of them thought this perspective was fit to print. It follows the long-standing tradition in Canada: non-stereotypical narratives of African-Canadian men are not a priority.
This week, national media reported on Torrence Collier, an 11-year-old in Westport, Newfoundland who has had to transfer schools because of the extreme and racist bullying he has endured in his community. Torrence is the only black child in the community. The bullying at his school was so bad that he was under constant supervision and had to use a separate washroom to avoid harassment from his classmates.
The best articulation of what Newfoundlanders thought of negroes during this period comes in the somewhat-well-known story of Lanier Phillips, a sailor in USS Truxton. During a bad storm off Newfoundland in 1942, Truxtun went hard aground, broke her back and started coming apart. Desperate to survive, her crew started going over the side –– in waves that Lady Alex wouldn’t attempt to swim through –– and some managed to get ashore. Truxtun‘s black sailors, however, were afraid to try for the beach; they’d been on a run that included stops at Iceland, where colored men weren’t permitted ashore. When he woke the next day, wondering if he was living in a dream, he discovered that he was something of a curiosity around the village of St. Lawrence –– first black man in town –– but not a threat, and certainly not a sub-human being. He was one of the fortunate few who’d been saved from the sea, and just like the white survivors, he was given clothes and food and a place to stay, until the Navy could retrieve him.
2006 census. Black: 900 people in Newfoundland/Labrador
Young African-Canadians were eager to serve their country during the First World War. At the time, an informal segregation policy made it difficult for these men to join the Canadian Army. However, like anyone else, they wanted the chance to do their part. On July 5, 1916, the 2nd Construction Battalion was formed in Pictou, Nova Scotia - the first black battalion in Canadian history. Recruitment took place across Canada, but the majority of recruits came from the Maritimes. Eventually, 605 men were accepted.
The unit was intended for non-combatant support roles and served honourably in France as part of the Canadian Forestry Corps. They provided the necessary lumber to maintain trenches on the front lines. Some of the members would go on to distinguished service in combat units and earn medals for bravery. Today, the dedicated service of the "Black Battalion" is remembered and celebrated as the foundation of a proud African-Canadian tradition of military service in our country. This interesting chapter of our country's history has been recorded in a book called Canada's Black Battalion and a documentary on the subject has also been produced.
- SteveNLv 74 years ago
Newfoundland (and to some extent Labrador too) were pretty much isolated from the rest of Canada prior to the television era. St. John's only got its first TV station in 1955. Before that, you learned what you could about the world from radio and books. Radio was colour-blind, and up until about 1949, the literacy rate for islanders was pretty low. Most children did not attend school or if they did, it was only for the basic skills (reading, writing, math)
It's no surprise that not many Newfies had seen a non-white person.
The black community in Newfoundland probably consisted of slaves (Yes, Canada allowed slavery up until 1833) and later freed slaves who arrived by the underground railroad from USA, or ones who had earned their freedom in Canada.
We see some mention of blacks in Ancestry.com archives
In the 2006 census of Newfoundland and Labrador, there was not that many visible minorities of any kind in the province, never mind just blacks.
Hope that gives you something to go on for your project.