Let’s All Stand for History! Our Real Montreal!
La plaque commémorative à son nom est cachée dans une petite ruelle du Vieux-Montréal à l’endroit où les propriétaires de restaurants déposent leurs ordures.
Marie-Joseph Angélique, a symbol of slavery in the 1700s, was sentenced to torture and burnt to death—the plaque that commemorates her name is hidden in a small Old Montreal alley where restaurant owners throw their garbage.
Fred Christie was denied a beer at the York Tavern inside the Montreal Forum during a Canadiens home game in 1936. He fought back and took the matter to court. The final ruling would deny Christie his rights and resulted in plenty of discussion and denial, rendering him a victim of institutional racism. This happened here in the city and remains a symbol, and a legal case, which received a lot of attention. In fact, it’s still studied in many Canadian law schools today. This case of discrimination directed at Mr. Christie, a Black man, is an example of resilience and the fight against discrimination in the face of the injustices experienced by most Black people over centuries here.
We need to mark these events as cornerstones of our shared Canadian heritage. Blacks need to be able to respond by acquiring knowledge of who they are and who they want to be. The Round Table on Black History Month and the Union United Church are teaming up to research and present a cohesive chronology of the Black presence here over the last 400 years. We need to teach and highlight the historical Black landscapes where we existed, whether as domestics, porters, editorialists, athletes, pastors, nurses, engineers, doctors or chemists. Our history is full of events that need to be documented, validated and highlighted, and then made available through physical and virtual tours of Black life in Montreal. Such efforts have an effect that resonates here and beyond. We will help to reverse the prejudices and stereotypes that Black people face on a daily basis.
We’ve been here a long time and have made significant contributions to a society that has forgotten us for too long. We survived, and we helped build this nation. A comprehensive retrospective of our lives here in Montreal is needed to restore our true legacy in our beloved city.