Hamilton’s hidden Black history: The story of ‘Rapid Ray’ Lewis and more told in new activity book

Hamilton’s Black historical past is full of a few of the greatest stories by no means advised.

that includes the story of Raymond “Fast Ray” Grey Lewis, the first Black Canadian to win an Olympic medal.

In 1932, he ran in the 4×400-metre relay race on the summer time video games in L. A., and won an Olympic bronze medal.

that’s the sort off accomplishment that would earn somebody a statue, a plaque — some roughly long-lasting tribute. However “Fast Ray” isn’t a smartly-known name, now not even in his place of birth. Now, way to a guide revealed last August from the Afro Canadian Caribbean Association (ACCA), all that would amendment. The FORTY TWO-page job book, Deeply Rooted – A Hamilton Black Historical Past E Book, is designed for youngsters ages 3 to twelve and is derived with colouring pages, crossword puzzles, Afrocentric recipes, details about key figures in Hamilton’s Black historical past and a wealth of Black historical past information. What’s on for Black Historical Past Month 2022 in Hamilton and surrounding space This 22-12 months-old is out to provide Black stories ‘extra light’ with launch of historical past database in Hamilton

It Is The work of twenty-two-yr-old Hamiltonian, Aaron Parry. He Is the author and illustrator commissioned via the ACCA to write down and illustrate the guide — as well because the lead researcher for a new Hamilton Black Historical Past Database that is launching this month.

concerning the e-book, Parry says “with the exception of making it available, we additionally desired to make it one thing that children would actually enjoy and that celebrates Black historical past whilst additionally educating them concerning the historical past of our community in Hamilton particularly.”

And Parry believes that youngsters in Hamilton needed to realize and have a good time “Speedy Ray.”

Lewis was once born in Hamilton to descendants of the Underground Railroad who escaped slavery.  Early on, he joined the Canadian Pacific Railway as a porter. He might  train for global competitions by way of operating alongside the tracks on every occasion the train stopped to be serviced. Out Of Doors the observe, Lewis trustworthy his time to fighting racism and discrimination.

Evelyn Myrie, president of the ACCA, said the idea for the task book happened as a result of other people in the town simply don’t know about Hamilton’s Black historical past. As children whole the activities, they’ll be caused to turn love for their hair and pores and skin and learn concerning the Underground Railroad and historical web sites like Stewart Memorial Area and Griffin House. They’ll additionally learn about necessary figures like Wilma Morrison, Lincoln Alexander, and Reverend John C. Holland.

The ACCA set up an advisory frame to help guide the analysis that went into the guide. “The advisory frame allowed us to unearth tales of the unsung hero or the hidden names in our community, Myrie stated. “some of us have that deeper achieve to unearth some of the ones stories and create the tapestry. Having the advisory body to assist suggest names and elements was a very certain development piece.”  

This new job e-book from the Afro Canadian Caribbean Affiliation includes a web page that celebrates the hairstyles of Black ladies. (Aaron Parry)

NDP MP Matthew Green could also be featured within the e-book

you’ll additionally examine Matthew Green’s story. He’s the NDP MP for Hamilton Centre and, in 2014, became the primary Black particular person elected to serve on Hamilton’s town council. He says the e-book is “a ancient curriculum” and an “chance for children of every age and races to have in their arms” and “recognize that our contribution has been historic, is ongoing, and also contemporary.”

Green says that, as a figure, the ebook way a lot to him.  He stated “i’ve a five-yr-vintage son, who for all intents and functions in society can be white. He won’t realize necessarily the same reports that I had, but he’ll get a chance to know about it, recognize it and relish it in these types of projects.”

While Deeply Rooted is targeted around and made for Black kids, Parry stated that he additionally stored in mind the will for the e-book to be available to non-Black kids.

“it’s important for us to recognize the truth that at the same time as we’d like to take care of our youngsters and educate them how you can love themselves higher and the right way to in reality be confident in their id, culture, heritage, custom and ancestors” he mentioned. “it’s also crucial for us to recognize the truth that we have to teach other children how best to engage with our neighborhood and tips on how to respect us.”

For Inexperienced, the e-book gives Black Canadians a chance to proper misconceptions around what it way to be Black in Canada. He mentioned “It feels like Canadian society would like to relegate the struggles of African Canadians or Black people in diaspora to an American revel in as a way to maple wash the complicity of our own involvement in settler colonialism, white supremacy, the transatlantic slave business and ongoing struggles. there is a long historical past of contribution and overcoming combat and when we inform our personal tales, we regain and reclaim our historical past.”

He stated “There’s so much of contribution left to be made and at this aspect, spotting some of the ceilings and obstacles which might be being damaged having simply handed Lincoln Alexander Day for instance…I’m hopeful this subsequent generation will proceed to produce individuals who will continue to be present at determination making tables and contribute within the method that we at all times have on this town.”

The ACCA would like to get Deeply Rooted’ into the Hamilton school gadget and potentially turn it into a series on Hamilton’s wealthy and vibrant Black historical past.

For more tales in regards to the studies of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to good fortune stories inside the Black community — take a look at Being Black in Canada, a CBC venture Black Canadians may also be happy with. you’ll learn more tales here.

Hamilton's hidden Black history: The story of 'Rapid Ray' Lewis and more told in new activity book


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