Lincoln Alexander Day/Journée Lincoln Alexander
Source: University of Guelph
“This pays tribute to an amazingly giving man who devoted his life to making a difference and to being an advocate for education,” Summerlee said.
“’Linc’ was one of Canada’s most groundbreaking and influential leaders. He led our University with grace and dignity for more than 15 years, and remained a great supporter and friend. He was an inspiration and a role model, and one of a kind.”
Although not an official provincial holiday, Lincoln Alexander Day allows teachers and students to study his life, contributions and challenges, Arnott said. It’s also a good lead-in to Black History Month in February.
Alexander died in Oct. 2012 at the age of 90.
He was appointed U of G chancellor in 1991 and served an unprecedented five terms. In 2007, at the end of his final term, he was named “chancellor emeritus” to recognize his years of dedication to the University.
Alexander’s life is often described as one of exemplary firsts. Among them, he was the first person in his family to attend university; Canada’s first black MP; the first black chair of the Workers’ Compensation Board; and the first visible minority appointed as Ontario’s lieutenant-governor.
He was born in Toronto Jan. 21, 1922, and grew up in Toronto and New York City. At age 20, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political economics from McMaster University in 1949. He attended Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the bar in 1953. He was first elected MP for Hamilton West in 1968.
An advocate of education, he wrote a 2006 memoir, Go to School, You’re a Little Black Boy.
« Aujourd’hui, alors que les Canadiens rendent hommage à l’honorable Lincoln Alexander, une fierté immense envahit le cœur des gens de Hamilton et de la communauté noire du Canada.
Grand pionnier de notre histoire, Lincoln Alexander fut le premier député fédéral noir, le premier noir à être nommé ministre et le tout premier lieutenant-gouverneur noir de l’Ontario. M. Alexander a également servi dans l’Aviation royale du Canada pendant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, après quoi il fonda un bureau d’avocat à Hamilton.
M. Alexander a également été nommé Compagnon de l’Ordre du Canada, l’un des plus grands honneurs qu’il est possible d’obtenir au Canada.
Les néo-démocrates sont fiers d’avoir mené l’initiative visant à désigner le 21 janvier comme étant la Journée Lincoln Alexander. Son sens du devoir et ses accomplissements inspireront les Canadiens de nombreuses générations à venir. »