“It is not your duty to be average. It is your duty to set a higher example for others to follow.” – Lincoln Alexander

January 21 is Lincoln Alexander Day. The Honourable Lincoln Alexander was a pioneer in the fight for racial equity in Canada. Since 2015, the Government of Canada has recognized Alexander’s legacy. A legacy marked by many firsts for the Black community in Canada:

  • the first Black Member of Parliament in the House of Commons
  • the first Black Federal Minister
  • the first Black Chair of the Worker’s Compensation Board of Ontario

These firsts are only a few of the accomplishments that have and will continue to inspire generations of African, Caribbean and Black-identifying people across Canada.

As a part of the Waterloo Region District School Board’s (WRDSB) Black Brilliance strategy and our commitment to combating anti-Black racism, we are celebrating Lincoln Alexander Day.

About Lincoln Alexander

Throughout his life and career, Lincoln Alexander spoke out boldly against racism and inequity, often risking career and professional advancement in the process.

As a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, he served as a wireless operator in World War II. While stationed in Vancouver, he was refused service at a bar because of his race. He reported the incident to his superior officer, who refused to take action. Alexander subsequently quit the Air Force, leaving with an honourable discharge. This is only one moment of exemplary advocacy in the life of this great Canadian.

  • In 2006, he was named the “Greatest Hamiltonian of All Time”
  • He was an advocate for education and has four public schools named in his honour
  • Toronto Metropolitan University renamed its law school the Lincoln Alexander School of Law
    • The Law Society of Ontario established the Lincoln Alexander Award in 2002
      It is awarded annually in recognition of an Ontario lawyer or paralegal who has demonstrated long-standing interest and commitment to the public and to the pursuit of community service on behalf of residents of Ontario.

Learn More
To learn more about the legacy of Lincoln Alexander, we invite you to watch this documentary: Lincoln M. Alexander: The Time Has Come to Celebrate (2002).

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