BHM – British Columbia’s Black Pioneers

Victoria BC c1859 (Image A-03038 Courtesy of Royal BC Museum and Archives.)

Toronto. My good friend, George Dunbar, discovered a site managed by Digital Museums Canada. This site, Community Stories, offers a timely story titled, “British Columbia’s Black Pioneers: Their Industry and Character Influenced the Vision of Canada“.

“Their story is unlike any other story in Canada. As the Fraser Gold Rush was heightening, the British desperately needed settlers and they needed them quickly, settlers who could help to cement Victoria, the capital of the Colony of Vancouver Island, as a British administrative, business and mining hub, thwarting any attempts by the Americans to assert territorial authority.

“This exhibit reveals how a group of about 800 Black immigrants, invited to settle here by Governor James Douglas, helped to stabilize British colonial communities and keep this area of Western Canada from American hands. At the time of this migration, the province of British Columbia, as we know it today was made up of the Colony of Vancouver Island and the Colony of British Columbia. James Douglas was the Governor of both colonies.”

Read this and the rest of this captivating story online. Our history tends to be white, male, and Eurocentric. Stories like this add a measure of balance but we have along ways to go. The story shows once again the importance of photography in illustrating history.

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