Canada 111/150: Liberty Silver

By Liberty Silver

Growing up in Peterborough adopted by a British family was destiny. For the most part life was good. It was the day I entered public school and things got real for me. Fighting my way on and off the school property every day became a daily stress for me along with stone throwing, the racial slurs, and being bullying by students and ignored by teachers.

I had no friends and when I tried to discuss it with my parents they told me to brush it under the rug and it would go away, but it never did.

As escape from my suffering, after school, I would go directly downstairs to the basement, play my father's jazz records and create songs from what I had experienced that day; all the while having visons of singing in a stadium of adoring fans. I found peace there. I found my voice there.

It didn't take long before 40 bullies boldly showed up at my backdoor one Saturday morning. My mother was in shock and asked what was happening. I calmly told her. "I'll handle this". After seating everyone, I gave them a 30 minute concert. As I began to sing, I saw their faces change, and as they began to relate and react to my songs, I realized the power of music to evoke the spirit and change hearts.

On the way out I charged them small change, chocolate bars and homework tutoring and answers. This was also my discovery of the business of music.

There were nights when I would weep in the middle of the night at the foot of my bed as a child and ask the Creator, "What am I doing here"? "Why am I here"?

One day a student from the neighborhood told me that it wasn't only that I was black, but also that I was adopted, and this was the reason everyone hated me.

After running home to my mother, I immediately asked her, "am I adopted?” Yes, she answered. “What does that mean?”

My mother then explained to me that I was someone else’s child but they took over the loving task of being my parents. At that point I lost it. Everything was a lie and I told my Mother I was leaving. Arrangements were made to have me stay at my sister's apartment and return the following Monday. For me I was on my own. Free at last!

The bus ride to Toronto was one of pure excitement for me. As we entered the Greater Toronto Area I saw people who looked like me for the first time, outside of television. I was elated. After arriving at my sister’s apartment I proceeded directly to the swimming pool where I sang about my new-found independence.

At this point, I was approached by a man named Norman who heard me from the underground parking lot, and immediately took me to an audition for a band that was looking for a singer. I was immediately hired, and we all jumped in a van and 12 hours later I opened up at Madison Square Gardens for Bob Marley. I would not return to Peterborough until 4 years later.

I travelled and toured Canada and the world. I've met thousands of people and realized again the power of music, and its impact even when we couldn't speak the same language, as well as my own responsibilities as an artist and the positive impact of my career on others.

I was not doing this for fame or fortune but for others who need to hear and understand that they too are not alone in their conditions, whatever those may be.

I understood the Creator’s plan for my life and the process of the healing I had experienced within. I reflected on the gift of family my parents had given to me, the unconditional love and patience and thanked them for loving me and supporting my dream and allowing me to go.

The Creator's plan forged me through the fire to make me stronger, preparing me for the path ahead, setting the course and destination of my life.

Know thyself you are divine. Peterborough is place that I will never forget and I'm sure they will never forget me also. Now that's just divine by me!