Clifton Ruggles is described by QWF Literary Database of Quebec English-Lanuage as an “important fixture in Montreal black community, an artist, poet, photographer, and journalist who dedicated his time to ensuring that black youth had proper guidance and role models.”

Fernwood Review of Ruggles and Rovinescu’s (1996). Outsider Blues: a Voice from the Shadows:

”The articles that appear in this book originate in the shadows–those marginal spaces that black people have been forced to inhabit ever since the first slaves reached the shores of North America.” Ruggles tells us that “Black is more than just a racial category, it’s a way of viewing the world.” It is out of this set of eyes that Clifton Ruggles writes a column in the Montreal Gazette. This book is a collection of those columns and of Ruggles’ photographs, which visually illustrate the “Black” experience. He tells stories of Black people’s everyday lives, provides non-stereotypical role models, details their contributions to culture, politics and so on–stories which are often either ignored or underplayed. Among the photographs are two photo essays, one autobiographical and one entitled Shadowlands. The book also includes an article by Olivia Rovinescu entitled “Deconstructing Racism.”

History, Identity and the Politics of Exclusion; Racism and Everyday Life; Reducing Prejudice: The Role of Multicultural Education; Education, Access and Social Mobility; Crossing Cultural Boundaries; Race, Representation and the Arts;
Combatting Social Problems/Making A Difference; racism, marginality, Canada,

Thumbnail biography with CLIFTON RUGGLES (B.Ed., McGill University, Certificate Special Education, McGill University, M.A. candidate, Art Education, Concordia University) has been teaching for 11 years for the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal. Along with Olivia, he has co-authored “Expressions of Montreal’s Youth,” “Exploring the World of Work,” and “Words on Work.” Clifton teaches art and math at Options High School and is himself an exhibited artist and photographer. Clifton is also the co-editor of The Sentinel, a magazine published by the Provincial Association of Protestant Teachers.

This is an excerpt from Outsider Blues:

“I guess practice does make perfect. Every year it seems that Black History Month gets better.

This year is no exception. Performances celebrating black historical and cultural contributions ranged from lectures, art exhibits, music, theatre, dance, film, poetry and even a demonstration of caring for black hair.

Black History Month evolved out of African-American educator Carter G. Woodsen’s 1926 Negro History Week. It has a dual purpose: celebrate the experiences and achievements of blacks and educate blacks as well as non-blacks about that history.

The West End had its share of Black History Month events, “Free Your Mind Return to the Source” as the Loyola Concert Hall featured more than two dozen musicians. It showcased the evolution of black music from the chains and drumbeats from the heart of Africa, to the Americas, from slavery to hip hop.

Came together

In the middle of one of the worst winter storms this year, blacks and whites came together to hear the sounds and the stories of the African diaspora.

One of the most impressive performers was South African vocalist Lorraine Klaasen.

She sang songs that spoke of the black struggle for liberation in South Africa as well as a song based on a traditional cry of joy. And she reminded parents of the importance of teaching children about their ancestors and culture.

Maison de la Culture Notre Dame de Grâce and Maison de la Culture Côte des Neiges had a full array of activities to celebrate Black History month. I was particularly taken with Pat Dillon’s portrayal of a black domestic talking about life, politics and the condition of black women in “Clemmie is M’friend.”

The one-woman play gives historical significance to all the black women who have worked as domestics, my mother included, and who in some ways have been the backbone of the black community.

Reads letter aloud

During the play, she reads aloud a letter she sent to her mother and children in Jamaica. She tells of the police shootings of black men and recounts the bitter irony of how these black men were killed. She concludes her letter by telling her mother not to send her teenage son for fear he might become one of the police statistics.

Even the National Gallery of Canada got involved in Black History Month this year by having a series of talks on such topics as African art and aesthetics and the image of blacks in art.

I attended one of these by art educator Maureen Flynn-Burhoe called “The Positive Presence of Absence: a History of the African Canadians through Works in the Permanent Collection of the National Gallery of Canada.” Even though there weren’t many works in the Gallery’s collection, Flynn-Burhoe managed to use certain paintings in the permanent collection to discuss the social and historical significance of these images to the black experience.

What wasn’t there became as relevant as what was there. One fascinating story was about the portrait of a naval officer, painted for his bravery. However, what was not hanging there, Flynn-Burhoe noted, was a painting of an equally brave soldier who was on another ship at the same time, and who was awarded the Victoria Cross. His name was William Hall and he was black. The omissions speak volumes.

But the most fascinated thing about the art tour was coming face to face with a bronze bust of one of my relatives – Tommy Simmons, who worked as a railway porter and coached an all-black girls’ baseball team.

It is one of the few existing sculptures of a black Canadian person. The bust, by Orson Wheeler, was found in 1975 in a studio at Sir George Williams University.

Reactions vary

Jones, also a relative of Simmons, was on hand to give some historical information about the bust.

The talk reminded me how the contributions of black Canadians have gone missing from the pages of Canadian history. Black History Month came to life for me when these untold stories began to surface.

Reactions to Black History Month vary with the black community. Most of the people I spoke to were very positive about its scope and impact.

One view was that besides giving blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves, Black History Month forces the involvement of societal institutions like governments, schools, art galleries, and various media.

Other people, however, were sceptical of the benefits of dedicating just one month to this agenda.

One person I spoke to expressed concern that there were not enough young people at the events; another that there weren’t enough people of other cultural groups.

One view was that Black History Month should work towards incorporating into the programs events that have a focus on the future.
Black History Month showed the diversity, richness, and talent can be found in the black communities. It was a testimony to the pain, joy and difficulties of the black experience (Ruggles 1995:02-23, reprinted Ruggles and Rovinescu 1996: 68-9).”


1971 Ruggles interviewed a Sleeping Car Porter: “Most porters did their work simply because they were afraid of getting fired. Most of these men had families and they wanted their kids to get a good education and they tried to do their work and stay out of trouble. They would have died if someone had taken their jobs away from them for no reason. I was there…I felt these men…you can feel things like that. I’ve seen men cry like babies and shake. I’ve had to hold them back from getting at an inspector or a conductor. Every time I think about it I get so full of rage. All the resentment just errupts in me all over again. I’ve had to control this anger…this hatred for thirty years.” “Unit 7: World War Two: Breaking Down The Barriers” in “Some Missing Pages: The Black Community in the History of Quebec and Canada.”

1974 Ruggles interviewed a Sleeping Car Porter: “In the old days the porters were hired if they were “good boys”. Yes Sir Mr. Charlie. It was just a mask that they wore. That has all changed, as far as the younger porters are concerned. The older one still do it. It becomes habit forming after a while, they’ve been doing it a long time. You don’t teach an old dog new tricks, anything that the management says, they’d accept. They’re not willing to fight for their right. There’s no fire in them anymore. There’s no zest. The younger porters have more spunk. They won’t take as much. They won’t hop when an inspector gets on the train. You should see the old timers kill themselves when an inspector gets on the train. They overwork themselves. We don’t care. We’re a new generation, we don’t say “yes Sir Mr. Charlie, No Sir Mr. Charlie”. That’s dead, and we want it to die, but the old guys are letting it live.” “Unit 7: World War Two: Breaking Down The Barriers” in “Some Missing Pages: The Black Community in the History of Quebec and Canada.”

1975 Ruggles interviewed a Sleeping Car Porter “When I first started, all porters where Black…and every white person on the train had the authority to act as your boss. Any passenger could get us fired. The conductors, our immediate bosses were told to ‘ride the porters’…make them tow the line, make them submissive. The tourist cars were just like cattle cars…soldier, low-life types…poor people who had no business on the train, got on with all their prejudices. They would insult us…humiliate us, and no matter what insult was hurled at us, the conductors were always reprimanding us…apologizing to them, promising them we would be disciplined accordingly. Consequently, a lot of porters were fired for hitting people in the mouth. But how much can a man take? Anybody…any bum could come up to you and tell you that he’s going to get your job just because he didn’t like your face. It gave them pleasure to act superior to Black people.” “Unit 7: World War Two: Breaking Down The Barriers” in “Some Missing Pages: The Black Community in the History of Quebec and Canada.”

1976 Ruggles interviewed a Sleeping Car Porter: “Porters used to have to shine shoes. One inspector used to actually smell them to see if they were freshly shined. I remember one porter got some really smelly cheese and put it in a shoe..this inspector took a whiff…I think that cured him…for a while. Another disgusting thing were the cuspidors or spitoons in the smoke room. These were cups in which people would spit. There was nothing more degrading than emptying these things out. Can anything be more disgusting than cleaning out somebody’s spit?” “Unit 7: World War Two: Breaking Down The Barriers” in “Some Missing Pages: The Black Community in the History of Quebec and Canada.”

1976 Ruggles interviewed a Sleeping Car Porter: “We were treated like five year olds. we couldn’t even talk back. If you did, they’d punish you…they’d put you out in the streets and make your wife come down and beg for your job. This is the reason I never got married. I never wanted my children to be ashamed of me. The porters that survived the best were the Uncle Toms…but I’ve seen these so called Uncle-Toms ashamed of the things they had to do…knowing that their children were ashamed of them. When they’d get home they’d break mirrors and break windows. The company never know about this, or cared about it for that matter. The story of my life is that I have closed this job out of my life. I go through the motions of doing my work to keep these people off my back. If have no respect for this job. As a matter of fact. I do not allow my friends to refer to this “nigger” job when I’m off it.” “Unit 7: World War Two: Breaking Down The Barriers” in “Some Missing Pages: The Black Community in the History of Quebec and Canada.”

1989 Clifton Ruggles published em>Visions of Colour which included “poems were inspired by events and situations which have had a profound influence upon [his] life. Reprinted in “Unit 7: World War Two: Breaking Down The Barriers” in “Some Missing Pages: The Black Community in the History of Quebec and Canada.”

“To me poetry is an inner experience which requires a certain understanding of yourself, of the situation and the conditions which give birth to creative expression. My father worked as a porter for many years. After his accidental death, I became interested in learning about the kind of work he did and how it had affected him. So I decided to take employment as a porter for the C.P.R. Soon after I became acquainted with many of the people with whom he had worked as well as some of his closest friends. It was them who shared their deepest and most cherished memories with me. I was deeply touched by the stories of the men who had worked the trains for many years and one day I decided to write about them. These poems are a result of that experience (Ruggles 1989).”

Ruggles Poetry from 1989

To be nothing more than a figure head a shadow
Of something concrete…
But the shadow is concrete too
Existing in the background
Its hopes, fears, aspirations
Emotionally swallowed up in the foreground
Opaque but striving to be noticed
By whom for what?

The moon grows smaller
But the shadow grows taller
Reaching for the moon
Slowly the moon disintegrates
The shadow is no more
until the Sun rises
If it rises?

The shadow’s plight remains the same
bent and twisted on the walls of shame
A shadow will always be a shadow
nothing more…

From: Ruggles. 1989. Visions of Colour, 1989, Montreal.


Ruggles, Clifton. 1989. Visions of Colour.Montreal.

Ruggles, Clifton, 1995, “Black History Month is better than ever,” The Gazette,” Montreal, Thursday, February 23, 1995.

Ruggles, Clifton; Rovinescu. 1996. Outsider Blues: a Voice from the Shadows. Fernwood Publications: Halifax.

Goddard, Horace I.; Ruggles, Clifton. reprinted 2008. "The nature of black writing in Canada: an interview with Cecil Foster." Kola. 2008: Spring.

Horace I. Goddard "The nature of black writing in Canada: an interview with Cecil Foster". Kola.

Learn Quebec. "Work and Identity: The Art of Clifton Ruggles" in "Unit 7: World War Two: Breaking Down The Barriers" in "Some Missing Pages: The Black Community in the History of Quebec and Canada." Unit 7. Features. Social Sciences. Learn Quebec curriculum.

List of Works on Black Canadian History Recommended by Learn Quebec Curriculum Unit on Black Canadian History
1: Print Sources

Africville Genealogical Society, ed. The Spirit of Africville. Halifax: Formac Press, 1992.

Bearden, Jim, and Linda Jean Butler. The Life and Times of Mary Shadd Cary. Toronto: NC Press, 1977.

Bertley, Leo W. Canada and Its People of African DescentPierrefonds: Bilongo Publishers, 1971.

---. Montreal's Oldest Black Congregation: Union Church 3007 Deslisle Street. Pierrefonds: Bilongo Publishers, 1976.

Best, Carrie M. That Lonesome Road: The Autobiography of Carrie Best. Nova Scotia: The Clarion Publishing Company Ltd., 1979.

Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia. Traditional Lifetime Stories: A Collection of Black Memories. Black Cultural Centre, 1987 (Vol. 1), 1990 (Vol. 2).

Braithwaite, Rella, and Tessa Benn-Ireland. Some Black Women: Profiles of Black Women in Canada. Toronto: Sister Vision, 1993.

Bramble, Linda. Black Fugitive Slaves in Early Canada. Vanwell History Project Series. St. Catharines: Vanwell, 1988.

Brand, Dionne. No Burden to Carry: Narratives of Black Working Women in Ontario 1920s to 1950s. Toronto: Women's Press, 1991.

Brown, Rosemary. Being Brown: A Very Public Life. Mississauga: Random House, 1989.

Bymmer, D. The Jamaican Maroons: How They Came to Nova Scotia: How They Left It. 1898. Reprint. Toronto: Canadian House, 1968.

Carter, Velma, and Wilma Leffler Akili. The Window of Our Memories. St. Albert, Alberta: B.C.R. Society of Alberta, 1981.

Carter, Velma and Levero Carter. The Black Canadians: Their History and Contributions. Edmonton: Reidmore, 1988.

Clairmont, Donald H. and Denis William Magill. Africville: The Life and Death of a Canadian Black Community. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1974.

Clairmont, Donald H. Nova Scotia Blacks: An Historical and Structural Overview. Halifax: Dalhousie University Institute of Public Affairs, 1970.

Clarke, Austin. Nine Men Who Laughed. Markham: Penguin Books, 1986.

---. When He Was Free and Young and He Used to Wear Silks. Toronto: House of Anansi Press Ltd., 1971.

DeJean, Paul. Les Haïtiens au Québec. Montréal: Presses de l'Université du Québec, 1978.

---. Haitians in Quebec. (Translated and with a foreward by Max Dorsinville.) Ottawa: Tecumseh Press, 1980.

Denby, Charles. Indignant Heart: A Black Worker's Journal. Montréal: Black Rose, 1979.

D'Oyley, Vincent. Black Presence in a Multi-Ethnic Canada. Vancouver: Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction, University of British Columbia, 1978.

Drew, Benjamin. The Refugee: or the Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada. Related by Themselves, with an Account of the History and Condition of the Colored Population of Upper Canada. Boston: John P. Jewett and Company, 1856. Rpt. as The Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada. Toronto: Coles Publishing Company, 1981.

Eber, Dorothy. The Computer Centre Party: Canada Meets Black Power. Montréal: Tundra Books, 1969.

Elliot, Lorris, ed. Other Voices: Writings by Blacks in Canada. Toronto: William- Wallace, 1985.

Forsythe, Dennis, ed. Let the Niggers Burn: Racism in Canada. Montréal: Black Rose, 1971.

Gay, Daniel. Des empreintes noires sur la neige blanche: les noires au Québec (1750-1900): Rapport final. Québec: Conseil Québécois de la Recherche Sociale, 1988.

Gilmore, John. Swinging in Paradise: The Story of Jazz in Montreal. Montréal: Véhicule Press, 1988.

Govia, Francine, and Helen Lewis. Blacks in Canada: In Search of the Promise. A Bibliographical Guide to the History of Blacks in Canada. Edmonton: Harambee Centres Canada, 1988.

Grow, Stewart. "The Blacks of Amber Valley: Negro Pioneering in Northern Alberta." Canadian Ethnic Studies 6, nos. 1-2 (1974): 17-38.

Hill, Daniel. The Freedom Seekers: Blacks in Early Canada. Agincourt,: The Book Society of Canada, 1981.

---. Human Rights in Canada: A Focus on Racism. Ottawa: Canadian Labour Congress, 1977.

Hill, Donna, ed. A Black Man's Toronto 1914-1980: The Reminiscences of Harry Gairey. Toronto: The Multicultural History Society of Ontario, 1981.

Hill, Lawrence. Trials and Triumphs: The Story of African Canadians. Toronto: Umbrella Press, 1993.

Hornby, Jim. Black Islanders: Prince Edward Island's Historical Black Community. Charlottetown, PEI: Institute of Island Studies, 1991.

Jean Baptiste, Jacqueline. Haitians in Canada = Aylsyin Nan Kanada. Ottawa: Minister of State Multiculturalism, 1979.

Kilian, Crawford. Go Do Some Great Thing: The Black Pioneers of British Columbia. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 1978.

Krauter, Joseph F., and Morris Davis. Minority Canadians: Ethnic Groups. Ontario: Methuen, 1978.

Lind, Jane. The Underground Railroad: Ann Maria Weems. Toronto: Grolier Limited, 1990.

MacEwan, Grant. John Ware's Cow Country. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1972.

Pachai, Bridglal. Beneath the Clouds of the Promised Land: Volume 1 1660-1800: The Survival of Nova Scotia's Blacks. Halifax: The Black Educators Association of Nova Scotia, 1987.

---. Beneath the Clouds of the Promised Land: Volume 2 1800-1989: The Survival of Nova Scotia's Blacks. Halifax: The Black Educators Association of Nova Scotia, 1990.

Porter, Kenneth. "Negroes in the Fur Trade." Minnesota History 15 (1934): 421-433.

Riendeau, Rodger. An Enduring Heritage: Black Contributions to Early Ontario. Toronto: Dundurn, 1984.

Ruck, Calvin. Canada's Black Battalion. Rev. ed. Nimbus, 1987.

Silvera, Makeda, ed. Silenced: Talks with Working Class West Indian Women About Their Lives and Struggles as Domestic Workers in Canada. Rev. ed. Toronto: Sister Vision, 1989.

Spray, W. A. The Blacks in New Brunswick. Fredericton: Brunswick Press, 1972.

Sterling, Dorothy. Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman. Garden City: Doubleday, 1954.

Still, William. The Underground Railroad. New York: The Arno Press and the New York Times, 1968.

Talbot, Carol. Growing Up Black in Canada. Toronto: Williams-Wallace, 1984.

Thomson, Colin A. Blacks in Deep Snow: Black Pioneers in Canada. Don Mills: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1979.

Tounkara, Foday M. Un Africain à Montréal. Paris: Pensée Universale, 1980.

Troper, Harold Martin. "The Creek-Negroes and Canadian Immigration 1909-1911." The Canadian Historical Review 53, no. 3 (September, 1972): 272-288.

Tulloch, Headley. Black Canadians: A Long Line of Fighters. Toronto: New Canada Press, 1975.

Walker, James W. St. G. The Black Loyalists: The Search for a Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone 1783-1870. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992.

---. A History of Blacks in Canada: A Study Guide for Teachers and Students. Hull: Canadian Government Publishing Centre, 1980.

---. Identity: The Black Experience in Canada. Ed. Patricia Thorvaldson. Toronto: Ontario Educational Communications Authority, in association with Gage Educational Publishing Ltd., 1979.

---. Racial Discrimination in Canada: The Black Experience. Ottawa: The Canadian Historical Association, 1985.

---. The West Indians in Canada. Toronto: The Canadian Historical Association, 1984.

Williams, Dorothy W. Blacks in Montreal, 1628-1986: An Urban Demography. Cowansville: Editions Yvon Blais, 1989.

Winks, Robin W. The Blacks in Canada: A History. Montréal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1971.

---. "The Canadian Negro, A Historical Assessment." Journal of Negro History 53, no. 4 (October 1968): 283-300.

---. "The Canadian Negro, A Historical Assessment Part II: The Problem of Identity." Journal of Negro History 54, no 1 (January 1969): 1-18.

---. "Negro School Segregation in Ontario and Nova Scotia." Canadian Historical Review 50, no. 2 (June 1969): 164-191.

Winks, Robin W. et al., intro. Four Fugitive Slave Narratives. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1969.

Print Sources Audio Visual Sources Archival Sources

Table of Contents

II: Audio-Visual Sources

Black Mother Black Daughter. Dir. Sylvia Hamilton and Claire Prieto. National Film Board, 1989. 28 min. 59 sec. This film pays tribute to the Black Women of Nova Scotia, who have struggled for over 200 years.

Fields of Endless Day. Dir. Terence Macartney-Filgate. National Film Board, 1978. 58 min. 14 sec. Outlines the presence of Black people in Canada from the seventeenth to the mid-twentieth century.

In the Key of Oscar. Dir. William R. Cunningham and Sylvia Sweeney. National Film Board, 1992. 94 min. A film biography of Montreal jazz pianist Oscar Peterson.

Older Stronger Wiser. Dir. Claire Prieto. National Film Board, 1989. 27 min. 59 sec. A unique history told by five Black women who discuss their lives between the 1920s and the 1950s.

Remember Africville. Dir. Shelagh Mackenzie. National Film Board, 1991. 35 min. Former residents of this historical Black community in Halifax discuss Africville's demolition and their relocation in the 1960s.

The Right Candidate for Rosedale. Dir. Bonnie Sherr Klein and Ann Henderson. National Film Board, 1979. 32 min. 52 sec. The story of Anne Cools, a Black woman, and her bid for the Liberal Party nomination in the Toronto riding of Rosedale.

Seven Shades of Pale. Dir. Les Rose. National Film Board, 1975. 28 min. 37 sec. A Black community meeting in Nova Scotia highlights the different perspectives of the older and younger generations towards the ways of obtaining positive change.

Speak It! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia. Dir. Sylvia Hamilton. National Film Board, 1993. 29 min. A group of Black teenagers discover the richness of their heritage and learn some of the ways they can begin to effect a change in the exclusionary and racist attitudes in their predominantly white high school.

Voice of the Fugitive. Dir. René Bonnière. National Film Board, 1978. 29 min. 55 sec. This drama follows a group of fugitive slaves travelling North to Canada on the Underground Railroad in the 1850s.

Print Sources Audio Visual Sources Archival Sources

Table of Contents

III: Archival Sources

Black Studies Centre, 1968 de Maisonneuve Street West, Montréal, Québec H3H 1K5, Dr. Clarence Bayne, President.

The Roy States Black History Collection and the Lawrence M. Lande Collection of Canadiana, Rare Books Department, McLennan Library, McGill University.

Stag Hotel Signboard

Originally uploaded by ocean.flynn.

In his publication entitled Black Nova Scotians John N. Grant (1980:31) described how the Stag Hotel 1, an Inn located in Preston, was sometimes the terminus of Lt. Governor Joseph Howe’s carriage drives.” (p. 31.) Stag Hotel is a clever play on words as the proprietor was William Deer, an African Canadian.

This inn is referred to at length in Manette’s thesis (1990) where she describes and quotes Mrs. Deer. It is also in Brown’s Illustrated History of Canada (Brown 1987: 287) but no mention is made of the fact that the owners were black.

The book by John N. Grant entitled Black Nova Scotians was produced by Nova Scotia Communications and Information Centre and published by the Nova Scotia Museum as part of the Education Resource Service Program presenting the history of the Black Nova Scotians both as a people and as an important chapter in the history of Nova Scotia. It asserts the unique heritage of Black Nova Scotians. It traces the history from the arrival of the first Black Loyalists in 1793, the Refugees of the War of 1812 through the period of slavery examinging the role of education and religion. Grant underlines the fact that mainstream white educators overlooked the existence of black history.

The Stag Hotel, was popular with Halifax sportsmen for its hunting and fishing. On May 28, 1873, Joseph Howe — ex-premier and new Lieutenant-Governor of the province — visited it for sentimental reasons. But the long drive was too much for his failing health, and he died three days later (Brown 1987: 287).”We inserted this image of a mid-19th century oil painting by an anonymous artist into a Google generated map of Preston, Nova Scotia. This image was uploaded from my Flickr account and is geotagged to a spot near the Black Cultural Centre in Cherrybrook, Nova Scotia. I am not sure of the exact location of the Stag Hotel in Preston although I know it is ten miles east of Dartmouth.

The words on the sign were written by Colonel William Charnley. He described the Stag Hotel kept by William Dear:

“Outside the House looks somewhat queer, Only Look-in, and there’s no fear, But you’ll find Inside, the best of Cheer, Brandy, Whiskey, Hop, Spruce, Ginger Beer, Clean Beds and food for Horses here: Round about, both far and near, Are Streams for Trout, and Woods for Deer. To suit the Public taste, ’tis clear, Bill Dear will Labour, so will his dearest dear (Brown 1987: 287) .”


Grant also included an illustration of the sign and the inn in his Black Nova Scotians.
Grant’s (1980) helpful publication is a useful complement to Winks’ drier read. I have incorporated many of my notes from this book into my chronology. In 1783, after the American Revolution, 50,000 Loyalists came to Maritimes. 3,000 were Black. Many, both black and white were disillusioned. Life was so difficult that many whites Loyalists chose to go back to the United States. The Black Loyalists couldn’t. In Nova Scotia Black Loyalists who had been promised land were having great difficulty. Thomas Peters, a former sergeant with the Black Pioneers, went to England with a petition for land grants that had been denied Black Loyalists. Some of the most industrious Black Loyalists emigrated at that time to Sierre Leone from Nova Scotia. In 1796 543 Maroons arrived in Nova Scotia. Maroons had waged war with Britain for 140 years (1655 – 1796) in Jamaica. In Halifax the Maroons built Citadel Hill fortifications. Wentworth ordered special uniforms for them and named the officers but the Maroons had control of their own hierarchy. Money ran out and the Maroons became increasingly impatient with continual discomfort and hardships. The Maroons, as well, eventually agreed to go to Sierre Leone. They left in 1801. Only a few remained. Slavery did exist in Nova Scotia but by 1810 it was largely a dead issue. Although not completely abolished until the 1830’s the law would not assist slave-owners to catch runaway slaves. During the War of 1812-1814 Cochrane promised freedom to to Chesapeake Bay area slaves who crossed over to British lines. He had planned to recruit the newly freed slaves to the army. The Black troops `the Colonial Marines’ produced the desired effect on the side of the British. Many of them, 1500-2000 would later come to Nova Scotia. Their first winter was extremely difficult. The land given to them was not rich enough for agriculture but they had no other alternatives. The war economy of Nova Scotia was booming. But after the war was the slowdown. The 1815 smallpox epidemic added to the difficulties. In 1820s ome of the Colonial Marines were sent to Ireland Island in Bermuda and others emigrated to Trinidad. There were a few success stories among the Black community. Mr. Campbell, a successful businessman in the 1830’s owned the chief livery stable in Halifax. His farm and stock were comparable to Lieutenant Governor Sir James Kempt. However, most remained as unskilled labourers. Cross-reference to [ Halifax Robert Field].
There is a wonderful story of the role black ministers played re: education and social change as well as an 1850 illustration of Richard Preston. There is also a beautiful story of how he found his mother in Preston. In 1901 there were 5,984 black Nova Scotians (1% of the population). In the same year there were 17,432 black Canadians. In 1873 a Depression hit Canada. Canada continued to experience the financial bust until the Klondike gold strike in the 1890’s. The boom in the West did not help the Maritimes in general and was particularly devastating for the already vulnerable black Nova Scotians.Grant concludes by celebrating the lives of seven Black Nova Scotians including champion boxer: George Dixon, Dr. W. H. Golor college president, William Hall, VC (1826-1904) and B.A. Husbands, president of Halifax Coloured Citizens Improvement League.Webliography and Bibliography

Grant, John N. 1980. Black Nova Scotians. Halifax. Nova Scotia Museum.

Manette, J. A. 1990. Revelation, Revolution, or Both: Black Art as Cultural Politics. Toronto.

Brown, Robert Craig, Ed. 1987. The Illustrated History of Canada. Toronto. Lester & Orpen Dennys Limited.

CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen and Melanie G. H. 2008. “Popular 19th Century African Canadian-owned Stag Hotel and NS Premier Joseph Howe.” >> Google Docs.Uploaded by ocean.flynn on 23 Jan 08, 12.32PM MST.

Black History Month on Prince Edward Island:

Hi Jinny, Here are some supplemental resources that I have been developing and/or uploading using Web 2.0 technologies since the fall of 2006. I am touched when PEI students are able to use some of my teaching, learning and research resources. I have made my home on other islands and even another continent, but I am deeply grateful that my childhood and youth unfolded in Charlottetown and Rocky Point and my family’s story is rooted in Prince Edward Island.

I will use this page to keep track of additions to my Web 2.0 virtual villages on themes of Black History Month, African Canadian History, and the Positive Presence of Absence.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. A Timeline of Show Boat, Pinky and Other Tales of Miscegenation. Speechless @ worpdress. Uploaded February 17th, 2007.

— . 2007. “Review of the DVD Pinky (1949).” Speechless @ worpdress. Uploaded February 16th, 2007.

— . 2007. “Memory Work, Memory Palace and a Homage to Sarah Harvie.” Speechless @ worpdress. Uploaded February 10th, 2007

— . 2007. “John Beverley Robinson and the Abolition of Slavery in Upper Canada. Speechless @ worpdress. Uploaded February 9th, 2007.

— . 2007. “Flicktion in a Flickr of an Eye: 19.” ocean.flynn @ Flickr. Uploaded January 10, 2007.

— . “Positive Presence of Absence: A History of the African Canadian Community through Works in the Permanent Collection of the National Gallery of Canada“. Papergirls @ worpdress. Uploaded January 2nd, 2007.

— . “Jennifer Hodge da Silva (c.1963-1989) African Canadian filmmaker”. Papergirls @ worpdress. Uploaded January 2nd, 2007.

— .”The Gallery as Memory Palace: M. C. Escher, Gainsborough, Tommy Simmons and Ignatius Sancho.” ocean.flynn @ Flickr. Uploaded January 1, 2007.

— . 2006. “Atypical colonialist Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza 1852-1905 stoned in RPCongo”. Papergirls @ worpdress. Uploaded November 30th, 2006.

— . 2006. “Sinking Neptune: some background reading for memory work praxis”. Speechless @ worpdress. Uploaded November 16th, 2006.

— . 2006. “Anna Packwood, Dr. Carrie Best, Tommy Simmons.” Speechless @ worpdress. Uploaded November 16th, 2006.

— . 2006. “Chronology of Show Boat: Some Memory Work for Neptune.” Speechless @ worpdress. Uploaded November 16th, 2006.

— . 2006. “Neptune Sinks in 17th attitudes: what to do with distorted histories?” Papergirls @ worpdress. Uploaded November 15th, 2006.

— . 2006. “Anna Packwoods100th Birthday guests”. ocean.flynn @ Flickr. Uploaded November 15th, 2006.

—. 2006. “Bateke Mask“. ocean.flynn @ Flickr. Uploaded November 14th, 2006.

— . 2006. “Black Pupil as Mirror, the Other-Eye.” ocean.flynn @ Flickr. Uploaded October 13th, 2006.

©© Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “For Jinny and her PEI students Black History Month 2007.” Speechless @ wordpress. Uploaded February 17th, 2007. Creative Commons License 2.5 BY-NC-SA.

1812 One of the most powerful earthquakes to hit North American, struck New Madrid, Missouri temporarily reversing the flow of the mighty Mississippi according to a riverlorian.

1831 First show boat William Chapman

1863 President Lincoln, after two years of civil war declared the Emancipation Proclamation freeing American slaves.

1865-77 Reconstruction period: The period after the Civil War and the abolition of slavery.

1870 Fifteenth Amendment gave Black people the right to vote.

1880s and 1890s Fear of Black’s political power led to lynchings . . .

1883 Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

1889 Chapter One of Ferber’s novel Show Boat opens on an April morning in Natchez, Mississippi. Natchez is south of Cairo where Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri come together. It takes place over a 43 year period.

1893 Chicago World’s Fair World’s Columbian Exposition.

1896 Ziegfeld met actress, Anna Held in London. She encouraged him to develop a show similar to the Paris revue, the Folies-Bergére.

1900 Taylorist political economy

1907 First Ziegfeld revue, the Follies of 1907, opened at the New York Theatre. It was the first of a series of long-running musicals that transformed musical theatre. His musical revues combined beautiful, but scantily clad chorus girls and showgirls with good legs, comedians, innovative and extravagant staging. He spared no expense in hiring the best actors, singers, comedians, composers, lyricists, costumers and set designers.

1909 W.E.B. Du Bois, the first black man to earn a PhD from Harvard University called for the creation of a black encyclopedia.

1912, 1914 and 1919 Ziegfield Follies.

1912 James Weldon Johnson first published The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man which described passing.

1918 Blacks who had served in WWI ideas and scholarship challenged theories of racial determinism and supremacy.

1918 Basu (2002) claimed that the political economic systems from Taylorism, through Fordism, post-Fordism, and flexible accumulation (Harvie 1989) spawned various forms of racial prejudice. Fordism combined with Taylorism as form of political economy. Fordism peaked in 1950s. Taylorism-Fordism encouraged the incorporation of ethnic populations into a hierarchical workforce in what Wallerstein described as ethnicization of workforce (Balibar and Wallerstein 1991). The phenomena of passing and had a socio-economic component.

Frederick Winslow Taylor published The Principles of Scientific Management in 1911, but he started and did much of his work in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. About the installation of the assembly line, Henry Ford comments that “the idea came in a general way from the over-head trolley that the Chicago packers use in dressing beef” (81). Ford dissociates himself from Taylor here, but the consistency of the procedures used in a whole new ergonomics legitimates the hyphenated usage of “Taylorism-Fordism” which stretches, then, from the last decades of the nineteenth century well into the twentieth. Taylorism and Fordism constitute a new ergonomics, but more broadly, they contribute significantly to the twentieth-century culture of the United States. In fact, Antonio Gramsci claims that “Americanism and Fordism” represent an effort “unmatched in history” to create “a new type of worker and of man” (302). Whatever we make of Gramsci’s reading of Taylorism and Fordism, it Is clear that he recognizes that economies of desire must be synchronized with the political economy, that the “new type of man” “cannot be developed until the sexual instinct has been suitably regulated” (297). (Basu 2002).

1920s Harlem Renaissance: Langston Hughes, Arna Bobtemps, Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, Jean Toomer.

1920s Romantic cynicism replaces 19th century idealism?

1922 George Gershwin’s wrote Blue Monday an opera about Harlem. Blue Monday was orchestrated by Will Vodery, “a prominent Negro musician of the time who worked as an orchestrator for Ziegfeld’s follies and an accomplished conductor.” (Crouch, Stanley (1999) “An Inspired Borrower of a Black Tradition” (NYTimes) January 1999.)

1926 Jerome Kern gets stage rights to Edna Ferber’s Show Boat. He collaborates with Oscar Hammerstein II to write a musical comedy.

1926 Twenty six lynchings in the south.

1927 James Weldon Johnson book The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man was republished during the Harlem Renaissance with a major publisher. According to the Literary Encyclopedia entry, Johnson’s book “influenced the form and content of later African American novels by authors ranging from Johnson’s contemporaries to mid-century novelists such as James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison.”

1927 The original production of Show Boat produced by Ziegfeld opened in December, 1927 at the Ziegfeld Theatre. It was the first great modern musical. It ran for 572 performances. “It was the second longest running musical of the 1920s.” The music was written by? Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II (uncredited?). Tess Gardella plays Queenie.

1928 – 1929 Show Boat opens May 3, 1928 at the Drury Lane Theatre, London, England and plays 572 performances. It was directed by Felix Edwardes. Paul Robeson as Joe becomes the star of the musical.

1929 Stock market crash. The Depression struck.

1929 May 5 Universal Studios film version of Show Boat is released.

1929 Nella Larsen Passing.

1931 The Ziegfeld Girl: Alvina Casucci, danced on Broadway for ten years during the Depression with Ginger Rogers and Milton Birle. She danced nude as a mermaid in the 1931 Ziegfeld Follies. Ziegfeld lost his personal fortune through massive gambling debts and Wall Street losses (Kreuger:99). Ziegfeld’s last show had to be financed by mobsters.

1932 The Ziegfeld revival. It was his last production. Show Boat played in New York, 180 performances at the Casino Theatre. Edna Ferber was moved by Paul Robeson, who replaced Jules Bledsoe playing Joe. The original Casino Theatre was built in an exotic Moorish design in 1882. (Kreuger:101)

1936 The Great Ziegfield, a film on the life of Broadway producer, Ziegfeld, produced by Henry Blanke and British director, James Whale, received the best picture award of 1936.

1936 Universal film directed by Englishman James Whale. Musical version of Show Boat with Paul Robeson, Irene Dunne and Hattie McDaniel. The Great Depression continues.

1930s Richard Wright: Black writers.

1940 Edna Ferber writes her biography A Peculiar Treasure.

1945 MGM film production ZIEGFELD FOLLIES (1945) directed by Vincente Minnelli. With a cast of top stars:William Powell, Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Gene Kelly, Fanny Brice, Edward Arnold. It was the first time Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly danced together. It made over $5 million.

1945 End of WWII. Returned Black servicemen demand integration and civil rights. Following World War II, returned Black servicemen demanded integration and civil rights. Basu (2002) claimed that the political economic systems from Taylorism (1900-), through Fordism (1918-), post-Fordism, and flexible accumulation (Harvie 1989) spawned various forms of racial prejudice. Fordism peaked in the 1950s. Taylorism-Fordism encouraged the incorporation of ethnic populations into a hierarchical workforce in what Wallerstein described as ethnicization of workforce (Balibar and Wallerstein 1991). The phenomena of passing and had a socio-economic component.

1946 Cidd Ricketts-Sumner wrote her novel Quality (1946). Ricketts-Sumner was an educated woman with an MA from Columbia University and some medical training. Quality like Show Boat dealt with the theme of miscegenation.

1947 Broadway production of Show Boat. check date 1946?

1948 South African author Alan Paton (1903-1988) wrote Cry, My Beloved Country about race relations in in this novel situated in pre-apartheid South Africa.

1949 Kurt Weill produced a shallow, melodramatic musical Lost in the Stars based loosely on Alan Paton’s (1948) Cry, My Beloved Country.

1949 Elia Kazan directed the film Pinky based on Cidd Ricketts-Sumner’s novel Quality (1946). Phillip Dunne (1908-1992) and Dudley Nichols (1895-1960), both activists in their own way, did the screen writing.

1949 Cid Ricketts-Sumner published But the Morning Will Come a book about passing.

1951 MGM Film version of Show Boat. Directed by George Sidney. Ava Gardner plays Julie. William Warfield plays Joe. The film grossed over $8 million. Frank Sinatra sang Ol’ Man River.?

1951 Zolton Korda directed the film version of Cry, My Beloved Country. Author Alan Paton contributed to the screenplay version.

1951 Till the Clouds Roll By Tony Martin as Ravenal; Julie is Lena Horne.

1954 On April 8 the New York City Opera presented Show Boat at the New York City Centre. The musical was elevated to the role of great art. (Kreuger:198)

1954 Brown vs the Board of Education ended segregation in education in the U.S.A.

1959 Film Version of Show Boat starring Ava Gardner as Julie?

1965 Assassination of Malcolm X.

1966 Stage production at the Lincoln Centre.

1960s Revivals of musicals. The era of nostalgia. (Marks 1999) NYT 99/01/24)

1960s Motown glory years.

1971 Thomas Carey in role of Joe is a sensation in London.

1987 Harold Prince revival of Cabaret.

1988 Show Boat recording with Frederica von Stade and Teresa Stratas.

1989 In The Condition of Postmodernity (1989) human geographer David Harvey described “the shift in the understanding of time and space operative in the postmodern experience, a shift characterized primarily by an intensification of space-time compression. For Harvey, postmodernism is a cultural manifestation of late capitalism and a transformation of time and space that serves to accommodate a shift from a political economy based on Fordism to one based on flexible accumulation.”

1989 Livent opens The Phantom of the Opera in December. Receipts for The Phantom of the Opera were $1.5 million. Livent developed their first educational program.

1991 Livent begins to manage the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts for the North York Performing Arts Centre Corporation.

1992 The Stephen Lewis Report (anti-Black racism in Ontario).

1993 World premiere of Livent’s $10 million production Show Boat opened in October 17, 1993 at the North York. Livent, Drabinsky’s production company uses Show Boat as a teaching tool.

1995-99 Dr. Henry Louis Gates develops the CD-ROM Encarta Africana in Microsoft’s Encarta series.

1994 – 1997 The Broadway production of Livent’s Show Boat opened October 2, 1994 to ‘unanimous critical acclaim’ (www.livent.com) played 951 performances over a 27 week period. Its receipts were $100 million. It attracted 1.5 million people. It won five Tony awards including Best Revival of a Musical.

1994 Pinky was released as VHS by Movies Unlimited in 1994 and on DVD 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in 2006.

1995 Cry, My Beloved Country was produced by Miramax Films.

1998 Livent’s Show Boat opens in Australia.

1998 U.S. businessmen Roy Furman and Michael Ovitz take control of Livent. They file for bankruptcy protection in November. Livent Inc. last annual financial balance sheet listed total revenue of $321,092,000; a loss of -44,131,000. It’s operations were suspended in November, 1998. (Thomson Canada Ltd.)

1998 Hollywoodism; Jews, Movies and the American Dream ( aka Hollywood: An Empire of Their Own (USA: video title) a documentary was produced by Simcha Jacobovici. He referred to the film Pinky.

1999 Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb, co-founders of Livent, face criminal charges in the United States. They are accused of fraud.

1999 Broadway Musical Annie Get Your Gun, the 1946 hit musical with music by Irving Berlin, is revived in a “wholesale renovation” (Marks. 1999. “Rewrite a Classic Musical?” NYT).

1999 The Mississippi: River of Song a PBS seven-part radio series on Mississippi River music. (Rogers, J. 1999 www.ottawacitizen/990105/e010521.html)

2000 Livent’s Show Boat’s (www.livent.com) North American tour supposed to continue into 2000. It was sponsored by Canadian Airlines.

2006 Pinky was released as VHS by Movies Unlimited in 1994 and on DVD 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in 2006.

©© Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 1999-2007. “A Timeline of Show Boat, Pinky and Other Tales of Miscegenation.” Creative Commons Copyright License 2.5 BY-NC-SA

Black and white films as popular culture provided an nonthreatening space where viewers could experience vicariously the extremes of hatred in the form of injustice, violence, cowardice, and despair, or idyllic romance, heroism, and hope. With the appearance of film classics on VCR in the 1990s — and now on DVD — we can imagine how previous generations spent their leisure hours, and perhaps how popular culture formed and informed their identities and by osmosis some of our own. I watched Pinky, one of the award-winning films1 of 1949 by controversial director Elia Kazan2, and recognized blatant stereotypes that had survived well into the 1950s and 1960s and were in no way limited to the southern states: the rebel girl who refused to conform to suffocating limitations based on gender, geography and race, the deified family doctors, the Black Mammy and preacher who had internalized prejudices and avoided overstepping their assigned status, the grumpy but kind and wealthy spinster, the wise judge, the bigoted but upright citizens of small-town America and white spinsters and matrons with formidable undeserved power to sway public opinion through gossip.

The overt racism of most of the cast of small rural town Alabama in the 1940s cut across lines of colour. The ubiquitous role of a heavy-set, weary but wise black maid was played by Ethel Waters (b. 1900) as Granny Dysey Johnson, who worked for a wealthy widow Miss Em (Ethel Barrymore) in her fine southern mansion. Granny Dysey lived a form of internalized racism which we only began to name in the post-colonial period. Her rejection of her granddaughter’s white fiancée was as adamant as Mrs. Woolly insistence that a store clerk interrupt her transaction with the ‘colored’ Pinky to serve a white customer first. The main character, the granddaughter Patricia ‘Pinky’ Johnson, played by Jeanne Crain (b. 1925), was ashamed of her black blood and “passed” for white, leaving her home in Alabama for a northern nursing school. While taking care of the ailing Miss Em they developed mutual respect and learned from each other. Gradually Pinky came to accept her black roots while refusing any limitations they placed on her, no easy feat in the 1940s in Alabama.

When Miss Em bequeaths her estate to Pinky the town turns against her. Neither the black nor white population want her to take possession of the mansion. Mrs. Wooly, Miss Em’s cousin who feels she was defrauded out of her inheritance challenges the will in a court of law.

Oddly enough Jeanne Crain is very Caucasian, which is quite confusing in scenes such as when Pinky and her grandmother literally walk the gauntlet of angry jurors following the verdict in her favour. Crain earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her role, one of the few serious roles she played. Apparently Lena Horne had wanted this role but was rejected to avoid unsettling contemporary audiences who would have been uncomfortable with the affection between the coloured Pinky and her white Bostonian fiancée.

Following the judge’s decision to accept the will as valid, Pinky and her fiancée Dr. Thomas Adam returned to Miss Em’s stately mansion. We see them from the second floor looking small and insignificant in the spacious foyer. As they walk from room to room they become more and more distant from one another. Dr. Adam calculates the value of expensive heirlooms and plans on the disposal of Miss Em’s valuable belongings. In an off-handed way he informs Pinky of his new position in Denver, which would be their new home. He had to leave his medical practice in Boston since the story of the court case had made the news there too. Once they were married she would no longer be Pinky Johnson. Her new identity would be as Mrs. Thomas Adam. She could leave all of the small-town bigotry, humiliations and injustice behind her. But this announcement had the opposite effect on Pinky who felt that the magnanimous gift from Miss Em had to be met with an equally grand gesture on her part. In the closing shots we see the estate transformed into a bustling clinic and child care facility.

The author of the novel on which this film was based was Cid Ricketts-Sumner, an educated woman with an MA from Columbia University and some medical training. She was one of a small group of people willing to discuss complex racial relations, hybridity4, miscegenation and the phenomena of passing3 in her novels Quality (1946) and But the Morning Will Come (1949).

In 1927 Zeigfeld’s Show Boat opened and became the longest running musical of the 1920s. The unlikely themes of this modern musical5 included hybridity, miscegenation and the phenomenon of passing. By the time Ricketts-Sumner published her second book But the Morning Will Come (1949) on the theme of passing, her first was already in film. Renamed Pinky, it was directed by Elia Kazan with script writing by Phillip Dunne (1908-1992) and Dudley Nichols (1895-1960), both activists in their own way. Show Boat was making another comeback with a Broadway version in 1947 and an MGM film version in 1951.

1 Academy Awards, USA: Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role Jeanne Crain (b. 1925), Best Actress in a Supporting Role Writers Guild of America, USA: WGA Award (Screen) for The Robert Meltzer Award (Screenplay Dealing Most Ably with Problems of the American Scene).

2 Pinky was referenced in Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998).

3Other books about passing include Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929) and James Weldon Johnson’s (1912 [1927]) The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. Qualls (1949) claimed Sumner lacked writing skills evident in the way in which she inserted profound lectures on race unconvincingly delivered by her female character Bentley Churston, a high school graduate married to a part-Negro husband. James Weldon Johnson 1912 book about passing, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, was republished with a major publisher in 1927 during the Harlem Renaissance. According to the Literary Encyclopedia entry, Johnson’s book “influenced the form and content of later African American novels by authors ranging from Johnson’s contemporaries to mid-century novelists such as James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison.”

4 Basu interprets literature on similar themes and identifies various forms of prejudice according to contemporary political economies. His references to the work of Deleuze, Guattari, Hardt, Foucault, Balibar, Wallerstein and Nella Larsen drew my attention to the impact of shifts in political economies on the changing face of racism.

In the incorporation of different peoples into a global economy, racism operates through what Wallerstein calls an” ‘ethnicization’ of the work force,” a process which adjusts different “human genetic and social pools” to the “hierarchical needs of the economy” at different times and in different places (Balibar 1991:33-34). Perhaps Deleuze and Guattari come closer to the phenomenon being addressed here in their assertion that racism operates “by the determination of degrees of deviance in relation to the White-Man face” (1987:178); that is, the deviance from the physiognomy of whiteness. Commenting on the above passage from Deleuze and Guattari, Michael Hardt suggests that we speak of racist practice “not in terms of exclusion but as a strategy of differential inclusion” (146) (Basu 2002:1).

5 South African author Alan Paton’s (1903-1988) Cry, My Beloved Country (1948) about race relations in this novel situated in pre-apartheid South Africa was turned into a shallow melodramatic musical called Lost in the Stars (1949) by Kurt Weill. In 1951 Zolton Korda directed the film version of Cry, My Beloved Country. Author Alan Paton contributed to the screenplay version.

Selected webliography and bibliography

Abel, Elizabeth, Barbara Christian, and Helene Moglen, eds. , 1999. Female Subjects in Black and White: Race, Psychoanalysis, Feminism. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Balibar, Etienne, and Immanuel Wallerstein. 1991. Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities. London: Verso.

Basu, Biman. 2002. “Hybrid embodiment and an ethics of masochism: Nella Larsen’s Passing and Sherley Anne William’s Dessa Rose.African American Review. Fall.

Basu, Biman. The Commerce of Peoples: A Reading of African American Literature.

Butler, Judith. 1999. “Passing, Queering: Nella Larsen’s Psychoanalytic Challenge.” Abel, Elizabeth, Barbara Christian, and Helene Moglen, Eds. Female Subjects in Black and White: Race, Psychoanalysis, Feminism. Berkeley: University of California Press. 266-84.

Butler, Octavia. 1988. Kindred. Boston: Beacon Press.

Deleuze, Gilles. 1991. “Coldness and Cruelty.” Masochism. New York: Zone Books. 9-138.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. 1987. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Fauset, Jessie. 1926 [1990] Plum Bun. 1926. Boston: Beacon Press.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 1999-2007. “A Timeline of Show Boat, Pinky and Other Tales of Miscegenation.”

Ford, Henry. 1922 [1973]. My Life and Work. New York: Amo.

Foucault, Michel. Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984: Ethics, Subjectivity, and Truth. Ed. Paul Rabinow. New York: New P, 1997.

Foucault, Michel. Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1993.

Foucault, Michel. Politics, Philosophy, Culture: Interviews and Other Writings, 1977-1984. Ed. Lawrence Kritzman. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Foucault, Michel. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977. Ed. Colin Gordon. New York: Pantheon, 1980.

Gramsci, Antonio. 1992. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. New York: International.

Hardt, Michael. 1998. “The Global Society of Control.” Discourse 20:3: 139-52.

Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. 2000. Empire. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Harvey, David. 1989. The Condition of Postmodernity: an Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change.

Henderson, Mae. 1999. “The Stories of (O)Dessa: Stories of Complicity and Resistance.” Abel, Elizabeth, Barbara Christian, and Helene Moglen, eds. Female Subjects in Black and White: Race, Psychoanalysis, Feminism. Berkeley: University of California Press. 285-304.

Kazan, Elia. 1949 [1994, 2006]. Pinky.

Larsen, Nella. 1928 [1991] Passing. 1928. Salem: Ayer.

McDowell, Deborah. 1986. “Introduction.” Quicksand and Passing. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP. ix-xxxv.

Morrison, Toni. 1988. Tar Baby. New York: Knopf.

Naylor, Gloria, and Toni Morrison. 1985. “A Conversation.” Southern Review NS 21. July. 567-93.

Parry, Benita. 1988. “Problems in Current Theories of Colonial Discourse.” Oxford Literary Review 9: 27-58.

Qualls, Youra. 1949. “World They Never Made: Only the Anatomy of Disaster: Reviews of Alien Land by Willard Savoy and But the Morning Will Come by Cid Ricketts Sumner.” Phylon (1940-1956). 10:2:185-187.

Ricketts-Sumner, Cid. 1946. Quality.

Ricketts-Sumner, Cid. Tammy

Ricketts-Sumner, Cid. 1949. But the Morning Will Come. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill. 302 pp.

Sullivan, Neil. 1998. “Nella Larsen’s Passing and the Fading Subject.” African American Review. Fall.

Williams, Sherley Anne. 1987. Dessa Rose. New York: Berkley.

Williams, Sherley Anne. 1990. “Meditations on History.” Black-Eyed Susans/Midnight Birds. Ed. Mary Helen Washington. New York: Anchor. 230-77.

©© Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. Review of the DVD Pinky (1949). Copyright Creative Commons License 2.5

Janelle Thomas is now a successful professional musician but in the 1990s she held a student summer job at the National Gallery of Canada. Even then she exuded a powerful creative energy. Perhaps that is why I wanted to paint her in to my story. I wanted a young self-confident, focused female model who would walk past that history without being weighed down by a rigid omnipresent Victorian conservative mentality. I was looking for a contemporary version of Sarah Harvie. There was something about the way Janelle shone that resonated with my image of the 19th century educator who seemed to be impervious to any constraints others might feel because of a politics of exclusion based on gender, race, age or geography.

I situated Janelle walking past one of CBC’s heritage moments paintings in the room devoted to members and Presidents of the first Royal Canadian Academy. The water court is visible behind her with Orson Wheeler’s bronze larger-than-life, portrait bust of the African Canadian sleeping car porter and community activist, Tommy Simmons, highlighted by natural sunlight beaming through three floors of Moshe Safdie’s glass and pink granite open architecture.

Robert Harris, RCA (Wales, 1849 – Quebec, 1919) was part of the first Royal Canadian Academy painters formed in 1880. In this painting entitled The Meeting of the School Trustees (1885) he immortalizing Kate Henderson’s1 confrontation with self-righteous Victorian values of rural Prince Edward Island. Kate came to represent progressive thought. One of the “women fighting invisibly at her side” (Williamson 1970) was Sarah Harvie.

In the Bog, on Rochford Street, was an integrated school for the underprivileged. On Prince Edward Island in the 19th century, the gulf between the rich and the lower classes was enormous. Nowhere was this more obvious than in the Bog area of Charlottetown where many Black Islanders lived. For over fifty years in the Bog School (1848 – 1903) Sarah Harvie, trained more than two thousand children. Sarah, who was African Canadian, was highly respected for the positive influence she exerted on the locality (Hornby 1991). One can imagine the 1860 meeting in Charlottetown similar to the one portrayed here. Some protested the fact that children of “respectable parents” were sending their children to Sarah Harvie to benefit from her progressive teaching (Hornby 1991).

On the same street as the Bog School was Robert Harris’ family church, St. Peter’s. Harris who returned often to his Island home, was very attached to this Church. His brother was the architect of St. Peter’s Chapel and Harris contributed numerous paintings to decorate the interior. It is from here that Harris was buried in 1919. In the 1880’s Church meetings must have been heated when, against the wishes of more conservative members, St. Peter’s Chapel became a Chapel of Ease for the poor people of the Bog2.

The Bog was razed in a redevelopment project shortly after the school’s closing in 1903. With the local community scattered many black Islanders became part of an exodus. Within ten years the Island lost most of its African Canadians. The majority went to Boston, joining thousands of African Canadians moving south in search of community and opportunity (Hornby 1991).

In the 1950s when I was growing up in Charlottetown the Bog and its residents were forgotten. The Harris brothers were remembered in architecture, paintings and exhibitions. The fine Victorian mansion called Beaconsfield was the work of Harris the architect. The Harris connection to Charlottetown was revitalized in the Confederation Centre (1967). So it is to them that I link Sarah’s story in my memory palace, the National Gallery of Canada.


1. The name of the one-room school teacher is on the book visible in on the scribbler on the desk in the foreground.

2. In the 1870’s Harris did sketches of “urchins” from the Bog. In 1904 he sketched Sam Martin’s bridge. Martin, a former slave of a Loyalist was the founder of Charlottetown’s black in the early 1800’s. Harris himself had little sympathy with the impoverished.

Selected Webliography and Bibliography

Harris, Robert, RCA. 1885. A Meeting of the School Trustees 1885 Robert Harris RCA (Wales, 1849 – Quebec, 1919)

Hornby, Jim. 1991. Black Islander: Prince Edward Island’s Historical Black Community. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Institute of Island Studies. no.3.

Tuck, R.C. 1988. “St.Peter’s Basilica” The Island Magazine. My information was based on a telephone call with Canon Tuck March, 1997.

Williamson, Moncrieff. 1970. Robert Harris (1849 – 1919) An Unconventional Biography. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 1997. “Memory Work, Memory Palace and a Homage to Sarah Harvie.” The Positive Presence of Absence: a History of the African Canadian Community through Works in the Permanent Collection of the National Gallery of Canada. Creative Commons License 2.5

Editors please note. This is authored using Google Docs technologies which allows for editorial collaboration. For questions, comments, corrections and concerns see Speechless.

He died on this day over a century ago and his obituary appeared again in the weekend Globe and Mail in 2007 reminding all Canadians that Attorney General John Beverley Robinson was part of our shared heritage. He was the attorney general of Upper Canada and a staunch defender of the the power elite called the Family Compact (Globe and Mail 2007: S8). But more importantly for me he was the Attorney General of Upper Canada in 1819 who declared that Blacks residing in Canada were free and protected by British law. (See Act Against Slavery) and (“Black History Canada.” In the southern United States slavery was not legally abolished until 1865 with the end of the Civil War.

I spent a lot of time walking slowly through the National Gallery of Canada notepad in hand examining details in each painting and its label looking for clues that would unravel parallel histories hidden by our desire to honour our Victorian heritage as Anglo-Canadians. I’m not sure when it was not enough for me. Perhaps it happened before I began to work here in this privileged place, the physical repository of our material culture, a shared communal archives, shared communal memory. It was a slow and difficult shift from thinking from a place of cognitive certitude to one of critical revisiting distorted histories. It wasn’t popular with docents or staff. But I had no choice. Perhaps I was already in a process of undermining my own job at the gallery from the moment I began asking inconvenient questions.

It’s why I stood for a long time in front of this small, well-crafted painting of John Beverley Robinson1 (1791-1863) in Room 104 of the Canadian collection.

This c. 1846 portrait of Attorney General John Beverley Robinson by George T. Berthon hung in the National Gallery of Canada’s Room A104. When I was researching for the Positive Presence of Absence: a History of the African Canadian Community through Works in the Permanent Collection of the National Gallery of Canada, I included this painting. In 1819 Attorney General John Beverley Robinson in Upper Canada declared:

“Since freedom of the person (is) the most important civil right protected by the law of England … the negroes (are) entitled to freedom through residence in (Canada) and any attempt to infringe their right (will) be resisted in the courts.”

It loosely covered the early 1800s with paintings by Robert Whale’s View of Hamilton and St. Thomas Railway, , the unattributed painting entitled View of Halifax, Paul Peel’s oil paintings based on his cross country tour with Governor Simpson and his painting of Amherstberg. There is also the Croscup room, a painting of a ship in a storm, a folk artist’s detailed painting of Miq’maq, portraits of Lt. Prevost Wallace, and of course the portrait of Robinson.

I was offered the possibility in 1997 of writing a 1500 word brochure touching on highlights of my research. The project was never realized and in a way I am glad for the power of the research was in its sources and the nonlinearity of its telling. Fifteen hundred words were never enough to make an ocean-liner-institution change its course. Web 2.0 is not limited by time and space.

So when I saw this obituary almost ten years later it reminded me of my memory palace, the NGC and of Black History Month. To be continued . . .

A selected webliography and bibliography

2007. “John Beverley Robinson.” Obituaries. Died this day. Globe and Mail. January 31. S8.

Berthon, George T. c.1846. “Sir John Beverley Robinson.” Gallery A104. National Gallery of Canada. cybermuse.

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