Every February our country honours the legacy of Black Canadians past and present. At DailyNews, we are honouring Black history with a wide range of stories featuring our students, staff, faculty, and alumni.
We will bring you the inspiring story of anti-slavery activist Mary Ann Shadd Cary, the first female publisher in Canada and the first Black female publisher in North America. Later this year, a bronze statue of Shadd by local artist Donna Mayne will be unveiled outside Windsor Hall in the downtown campus. We will relive the grandeur of Emancipation Day celebrations in Windsor by sharing the memories of our alumni. Emancipation Day in Windsor over the years attracted the likes of Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, the Temptations, Martin Luther King Jr., and Eleanor Roosevelt.
But we are not looking only to the past. We will also bring you stories of history in the making. We will tell you how we are celebrating the achievements of our Black students, and about upcoming virtual events intended to inform us all about race as a social construct.
We will also profile notable leaders making a difference in their communities and leaving a mark on their professions. We are proud to launch this series in February and look forward to continuing these stories throughout the year. We welcome your suggestions on people we should highlight, and invite your ideas on other stories, too.
“It is great to see the University of Windsor honouring the contributions of our Black faculty, students, staff, and alumni locally as well as across Canada and worldwide,” said Marium Tolson-Murtty, the president’s strategic planning officer on anti-Black racism initiatives at the University of Windsor. “Unfortunately for many of us, regardless of race or cultural background, Black history was never taught in schools during our formative years. If it was, it may have been relegated to a few days during Black History Month and may have started and stopped with slavery.
“This is an opportunity for all of us to acknowledge the influence, significance, relevance, and lived experiences of people of the African diaspora. It is imperative to have this information available for our campus community and beyond.
Tolson-Murtty is a descendant of the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses and secret routes that brought escaped enslaved Africans from the United States to perceived freedom in Canada. She said UWindsor is “the perfect institution to highlight the historical contributions” of Black people in this region and throughout Canada.
“The Windsor-Essex country region is steeped in rich cultural heritage,” she said. “We are celebrating the past and embracing the future.”
This banner image, which will signify articles in this series, depicts Mary Ann Shadd Cary.