Hi I'm Kathy Grant and I am a Cultural Historian. Our Legacy Voices project is raising funds to document, digitize and share our rich Black Canadian Story in the classroom and with Canadians.
In 2005 my father, a Black WWII veteran passed away. I’ll never forget our final conversation. He made me promise to highlight the stories of unrecognized Black veterans and also those inspiring stories that belong as part of Balck Canadian history. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/nowornever/keeping-the-memory-of-war-alive-1.4391788/dad-i-m-going-to-help-you-fulfilling-a-promise-to-preserve-the-memory-of-black-veterans-1.4393002
For the past fifteen years, I’ve worked tirelessly as a senior administrator and public historian to achieve this goal. I have devoted my efforts to documenting, digitizing and videotaping the stories of Black Canadian veterans and also Black Canadian History.
I’ve collaborated with the multiple organizations such as Canadian War Museum, Library and Archives Canada, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. I’ve also made educational presentations to municipalities, schools, and community organizations in order to promote inclusive historical storytelling and documentation. My efforts were formally acknowledged in 2012, when I received a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award.
I’ve done this work at great personal expense and time. It’s been my privilege to preserve the legacy of Black veterans and Black Canadians but now I need your help.
In 2020 I plan to facilitate workshops at schools in key Canadian cities rich with Black history, develop a website with a community and school-based curriculum, and interview the elders and their loved ones (many of whom are over 90 years old).
WILL YOU HELP ME KEEP MY PROMISE TO MY DAD? Please donate to our Black Canadian History campaign.
Every single dollar counts.
Ten years ago I met author Austin Clarke at his home and was fascinated by this regal picture above of unidentified Black women on his mantle. He shared that the lady, second from the right, was Theodosia Audain Salisbury and that she was a domestic.
Below is Theodosia's story that appeared in "The Toronto World" newspaper in 1910.
“One Woman’s Story.
The World saw Theodosia Audain, a very black but quite intelligent and refined woman in the police court corridor, yesterday morning. This is her story:
“I came to the city from St. Kitts, West Indies, on May 23. My passage money and expenses, $46, had been advanced to me by Mrs. Meggs in St. Kitts and I was met at the Union Station and taken to my employer’s home in College street.
I had not been there long before my mistress and master handled me roughly, and on one occasion the woman threatened to strike me and I had to run from the house.”
“When they were displeased with me they used to call me ‘a black thing,’ and kept me without food and were otherwise cruel to me. One Sunday morning it got so bad that I took my trunk on my head and, without shoes or stockings, ran from the house and sought shelter at the Court-street police station, where Sergeant Geddes sent me to a colored boarding house.”
“I soon got another place, but I was followed by my previous employer, who sent a man to search my trunk, saying I had stolen a diamond ring. They searched everything I had. I gave them the keys of my trunk because I had stolen nothing, and they found nothing. Then I had to leave that place, but the first employer still keeps some of my clothes, and has refused to pay back the passage of money advance me at the rate of $3 per month. I have got a new place now at $15 a month, but my father will send me the money, and I want to go back home, where I will not be called a thief, and where I will not be treated as a slave.”
One of our goals is to identify the other women in this picture, and share their story.
Since starting this journey began, we located Theodosia's three grandchildren and her relationship to Canada's first Black postman, Albert Jackson.