The CCU-CSC is acknowledging the contribution of black workers in Canada as part of Black History month through a three-part series highlighting the impact of black Canadians in our country. After releasing editions on East and Central Canada, this is final edition of the three-part series, ending with the West.
- A Ship-load of Trouble in Nanaimo Harbour: The Raid on the SS Bawnmore
- The BC Labour Heritage Centre published this fascinating article for Black History month, written and researched by Donna Sacuta. Read about the daring night-time raid on a non-union vessel that netted the Coast Seamen’s Union five new members, and a heap of trouble in 1893.
- The first Canadian Branch Coast Seamen’s Union was founded in Victoria in 1891 and represented sailors working the coastal routes along the Pacific. They became the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific. (This excerpt is from the BC Labour Heritage Centre February newsletter, as well as picture below.)
- Noteworthy People:
- Frank Collins, head of the Vancouver Division of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in the 1940s.
- Fitzclarence St John, a founding member of the “Bows and Arrows” Lumber Handlers local of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
- Lloyd Edwards, who led over 1,000 Surrey teachers on a one-day walkout in 1974 to protest under-funding and increasing class sizes.
- Emmitt Holmes, the only black member of the IWA (International Woodworkers of America) when he joined in 1944, who went on to be a union activist and a founder of the BC Association for the Advancement of Coloured People in 1956.
- Pullman Porter Street and Switchmen Street
- In 2015, the City of Vancouver designated two streets in the southeast False Creek neighbourhood of Strathcona to recognize black labour history of the area. Pullman Porter Street and Switchmen Street were selected in recognition of the role sleeping car porters and railway workers played in both black labour history and the history of the railway.
We hope you enjoyed the series! Although this last edition ended up being released after February, we feel the information is always timely. In the spirit of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21, and this year’s theme: Fighting racism and xenophobia during and after COVID-19, remember that viruses go away, but discrimination stays.