Yearly Archives: 2019

TVO – Excerpt: Cecil Foster’s ‘They Call Me George: The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada’

For years, cross-country rail travel was an integral part of Canadian identity, and Black train porters played a central role. But despite their contributions, they were treated like second-class citizens In 1891, a reporter from the New York Sun shadowed porters on the Canadian Pacific Railway transcontinental run to give readers a first-hand account of the...
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The Toronto Star – In 1954, Black train porters called on Ottawa to transform Canada into ‘a country of equality’

On April 26, 1954 a train arrived in Ottawa. Inside one of its cars: a 35-member delegation of the Negro Citizenship Association. In They Call Me George, sociology professor and novelist (Independence) Cecil Foster makes the case that the moment was exceptional, a consequential threshold-crossing episode. The men, former and current porters (popularly known as “George’s boys”...
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The Toronto Star – Demeaned, overworked and all called George: How Black train porters transformed Canada

During the golden age of North American train travel, sleeping cars often came with porters who would carry your luggage and shine your shoes. Porters were smiling, courteous and unfailingly polite; for the better part of the last century, they were also Black, male, and sometimes referred to condescendingly as “George’s boys” — or, simply,...
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The Caribbean Camera – How Black Train Porters helped to build modern Canada

Typical of books written by the evocative Bajan-Canadian author, Cecil Foster, once you pick up They Call me George: The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada you just cannot put it down. Every Canadian of every ethnicity and walk of life should read this wonderful account of how Negroes, many of...
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The Globe and Mail – How black train porters helped put Canada on track

Once, a black work force kept rail travel running smoothly in Canada – and they paved the way for racial justice and economic opportunity for all. How can we remember their sacrifices? Article Link: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-how-black-train-porters-helped-put-canada-on-track/...
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Radio Canada International – The story of the Black Porters on Canadian railways

It was a unique chapter in Canadian history.  The age of rail travel blossomed in the 20th century, and along with it a need for workers aboard the trains to help the passengers, particularly those in the sleeping cars. They were almost exclusively black, and later helped change Canadian immigration law, and by extension, the shape of...
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Biblioasis – An Interview with Cecil Foster

…we’re eagerly awaiting February 5 and the Canadian publication of our first 2019 title: Cecil Foster’s They Call Me George: The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada. Foster’s history documents the struggles, both individual and collective, of Black Canadians against the racist policies of their employers and their country. It was their actions, Foster argues, that laid the groundwork for the multicultural nation we know today. Incorporating the author’s own interviews with former porters and outlining the rarely-discussed institutional racism of early Canadian immigration and employment policies, They Call Me George is an indispensable read for the 21st century.

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