Best of Times, Worst of Times
March 23, 2015
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”1 This was the inspirational phrase from Martin Luther King Jr. when he was fighting against racial intolerance in the 50s. This was the era when black people in Canada had a difficult time being accepted as part of Canada with equal opportunity when compared to the white Anglophone population. They were discriminated in public areas such as restaurants, parks, cafes, and schools with signs to say whether or not they were allowed in. Some owners of restaurants could choose whether they wanted to serve to them or not. BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 Black Canadians were much poorer because the well paid jobs were already occupied by the white Anglophones. Therefore, their children couldn’t even afford schools or books and were separated from the white kids during classes. The discrimination was much more serious in major cities such as Toronto and Halifax.
Many black Canadians were looking for better living conditions and fled to small farming communities. One place in particular was called Africville which was located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 This was the place to which many Black Canadians relocated after World War II. Due to low political strength and social status, this community of 75 people ended up becoming the poorest community in Canada. It was finally demolished in 1964 and residents were forced to relocate to public housing projects with compensation of only $500 per household. BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 These families had hard times intergrading into the new community. For years, African Canadians were not able to be elected into Canadian government offices. One main reason was that they didn’t have enough education to hold government positions.
The White Anglophone males, on the other hand, were always in control politically, financially and socially when compared to the Black Canadians. They always had the most opportunities and the best paid jobs. They were actors, doctors, lawyers, and singers. The first six Prime Ministers of Canada were all white Anglophone males. They included John A. Macdonald, Alexander Mackenzie, John Abbott, John Thompson, Mackenzie Bowell, and Charles Tupper. BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 The White Anglophone people were always allowed to come into Canada. The British, French and the Americans were always favored and admitted into the country. They were socially accepted because the population’s majority in Canada were White Anglophone. This is because during the World War, European homelands were destroyed, meaning people had to immigrate to a new country. BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 They were never made fun of, and many were recognized as first-class citizens due to their wealth and their high positions in jobs. To be a White Anglophone in Canada was very advantageous, because many of the laws were adopted from the British and American laws. The majority of the populations in these two countries were also mainly White Anglophone. To be a colored person in Canada was not as advantageous because racism was prominent in the 1950s.
During the 1960s, African Canadians tried to make a stand for themselves. We see this when Leonard Braithwaite was the first African Canadian elected to the Ontario provincial legislature in Ontario in 1963, and Lincoln Alexander from Hamilton became the first black member of Parliament in 1968. BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 At the same time, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Ellen Fairclough, made a radical reform of the government's "White Canada" immigration policy. She helped eliminate racial discrimination in Canada's immigration policy, allowing more Africans to enter the country. BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 Diefenbaker further changed the immigration policies