The Ford plant in Windsor hired its first full-time employees of African descent in the 1940s. Black women worked alongside white women in factories and munitions plants across the country. It was a hopeful beginning.

Many other Black workers remained in the same types of jobs they had always held.
The Ford plant in Windsor hired its first full-time employees of African descent in the 1940s. Black women worked alongside white women in factories and munitions plants across the country. It was a hopeful beginning.

Many other Black workers remained in the same types of jobs they had always held.

© 2007 Workers Arts and Heritage Centre - All Rights Reserved

Two Sisters Working on an Assembly Line

Two sisters working on an assembly line in a St. Catharines auto parts plant, 1944

Toronto Telegram Photograph Collection
York University Archives and Special Collections

© York University Archives and Special Collections


Mal Nicholson

Mal Nicholson, owner of Mal Nicholson Ltd. construction company, and his work crew.

Jeanne Nicholson Collection, St. Catharines Museum

© St. Catharines Museum


Black Auto Worker, 1946.

Black auto worker, 1946.

Windsor Star

© Windsor Star


Cleata Morris and Her Students

S.S. #10 Chatham, 1948, Chatham Township. In 1958 Cleata moved to Windsor and taught elementary school. She was also an associate teacher for the London Normal School and later the University of Windsor, Faculty of Education. Morris retired in 1986 after forty-two years of devoted service in education.

Ontario Black History Society

© Ontario Black History Society


Charles Burns, Edward 'King' Green, Orville 'Bunky' Miller,

Charles Burns, Edward 'King' Green, Orville 'Bunky' Miller, 1948, were three of many men and women from the Georgian Bay area who worked as cooks and deckhands on Great Lakes steamers.

The Grey Roots Archival Collection

© The Grey Roots Archival Collection, Owen Sound, Ontario


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • explain how Canada’s identity has been and continues to be shaped by its global participation;
  • comment on the political and social context of African Canadians between 1900 and World War II;
  • discuss civil rights of African Canadians from 1960 to now.

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