Black Theatre Workshop

Important Moments In Black History:

  • 1789 - The new Grand Theatre Opens in Halifax with Merchant of Venice
  • 1818 - Frederick Douglass was born- he made many contributions to the abolitionists.
  • 1825 – First permanent theatre building in Montreal and Quebec City- Theatre Royal
  • 1833 - Ira Aldridge is the first African-American classical actor in Europe
  • 1853 – Mary Ann Shadd becomes the first woman in North America to be editor of a newspaper
  • 1858 - William Wells Brown – first African American to have a novel and a play published. Play was The Escape
  • 1863 - The 54th regiment was started for volunteer Blacks who wanted to fight.
  • 1886 ­- First Black Canadian Lawyer- Delos Davis
  • 1918-1937 - Harlem Renaissance- a blossoming of African American culture particularly in the arts.
  • 1925 -
    • Garland Anderson’s play Appearance was play of black authorship  to be produced on Broadway
    • Oscar Peterson, an internationally famous jazz musician is born in Montréal.
  • 1926 - Negro History Week was celebrated for the first time during the second week in February.
  • 1929 - Rockhead’s Paradise opens in Montréal by black entrepreneur Rufus Rockhead
  • 1939 - Hattie McDaniel First African-American Actor to Win Academy Award
  • 1942 - First Appointed Black Judge in Quebec, Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré
  • 1943 – Paul Robenson internationally renowned singer, actor, scholar and lawyer begins the longest running Shakespeare play on Broadway to this day.
  • 1944 - Ontario passes Racial Discrimination Act
  • 1946 - Viola Desmond, a black Woman, gets arrested for sitting in a theatre’s “White Section”
  • 1950 -
  • 1952 -
  • 1954 - The Supreme Court rules against “separate but equal” outlawing segregated in public education.
  • 1955 -
    • Teenager Emmett Till is murdered for allegedly whistling at a White woman. The men were acquitted and later confessed.
    • Rosa Parks was arrested after refusing to give up her seat on a bus, starting the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • 1956 -
    • Nat “King” Cole- First African-American to host weekly TV Show.
    • Africville announced to be taken over
  • 1957 - Governor of Arkansas refused to integrate Little Rock Central High School. US Army and National Guard enforce the integration of the Little Rock Nine.
  • 1959 - Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun debuts on Broadway.
  • 1960 -
    • Four Black students have a sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, sparking similar movements all over the country
    • Martin Lurther King (MLK) was arrest and acquitted, by an all-white jury, for Tax evasion. He was arrested again at a sit-in at Atlanta’s Department Store. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy helped get him free on bond.
    • U.S. Supreme Court outlaws segregation on interstate buses and at the terminals.
  • 1961 - The first “Freedom Riders” leave Washington on a Greyhound bus to integrate interstate buses. Throughout May different groups of Freedom Riders are arrested, attacked, and assaulted until MLK joins and Robert Kennedy send marshal to protect them. Later in the year it continues in Albany and MLK is arrested again.
  • 1965 -
  • 1966 -
    • Edward Brooke was elected as the first Black senator since 1881 into the U.S. Senate
    • Black Panther Party for Self-Defense is founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.
  • 1967 - Last resident of Africville relocated
  • 1968 -
  • 1971 –
    • Bill Pickett becomes the first African-American Member of the Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame
    • Harry Jerome was awarded the Order of Canada medal. Jerome proudly represented Canada in three Olympic Games
  • 1972 – Rosemary Brown becomes the first African-Canadian woman elected in Canadian Parliament
  • 1975 –
    • Wilson Head, a civil rights activist, creates the Urban Alliance on Race Relations
    • Playwright Ntozake Shange receives acclaim for her theatre piece For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.
  • 1983 – Guion S. Bluford is the first African-American Astronaut in Space
  • 1984 – Dr. William Pearly Oliver, founder of the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NSAACP), received the Order of Canada