HALIFAX, February 4, 2013 - (article printed in Halifax Chronicle Herald as part of African Heritage Day)
As an outcome of the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement in 1988, an endowment fund of $24 million, jointly donated by the Japanese Canadian community and the Government of Canada was used to create a Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF). The Foundation was physically started in 1997. Its purpose was to help develop and share knowledge to contribute to the elimination of racism and racial discrimination in Canada.
The first Chair of the Foundation was the Honourable Lincoln Alexander (January 21, 1922 – October 19, 2012), born to immigrants from the West Indies. He was also the first Lieutenant Governor of Ontario of Black or African heritage and the first recipient of the CRRF Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, the form of which is a sculpture commemorating Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
Since its establishment in 1997, the CRRF has built a collection of resources that is unique. There are over 3,500 resources in the CRRF's collection. The CRRF's electronic resource includes the entire collection, comprised of many different items including periodicals, reports, books, organizational pamphlets, study guides and audio-visual materials. The CRRF's clearinghouse is accessible through the website and is a virtual library for the resources that the CRRF has identified as excellent Canadian material that focuses on combating racism in Canada. This resource will allow CRRF stakeholders across Canada to access information within the collection and obtain hard copies if necessary from their local libraries or directly from the CRRF website.
A number of these resources are particularly relevant to Canadians of Black and African heritage both in terms of their achievements and the barriers they have faced and continue to face. Some of these are illustrated in the singular life of Lincoln Alexander himself and are recounted in the memoir, "Go to school, you're a little black boy", one of the numerous books on related topics in our bibliography. Other resources are directly on our site. For more information on training materials, policy documents and research relating to Canadians of Black and African heritage in various provinces in Canada, contact Anne Marrian, Program Director, Community Support and Knowledge Base; Tel.: 416-441-2734 or 1-888-240-4936; e-mail: