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Gus Este & The Black Canadian War Experience Learning Guide

This podcast was created by Birkett Educational Consultants Inc as part of Defining Moments Canada’s project titled In Defence of Hopes Profound: Canada and the Korean War. The Korean War, often the forgotten war, is very much a part of Canada’s Defining Moments. Another forgotten aspect of the Korean War and other wars in which Canada participated is the involvement of Black Canadian soldiers.

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Additional Resources & Works Cited

Websites & Digital Resources

Abedi, Maham. ““They Fought to Fight”: How Black Canadians Battled Racism to Serve the Country.” Global News, 11 Nov. 2019, globalnews.ca/news/6147380/black-canadians-soldiers-world-war-racism/. Accessed 17 Apr. 2023.

Berthiaume, Lee. “Black Canadians Fought Racism, Discrimination to Serve in Second World War | CBC News.” CBC, 8 Nov. 2020, www.cbc.ca/news/politics/black-canadians-second-world-war-1.5793974. Accessed 17 Apr. 2023.

“Black History”. Black Canadian Veteran Stories. www.blackcanadianveterans.com. Accessed 17 Apr. 2023.

“Este, Clarence “Gus.”” Black Canadian Veteran Stories, 10 Dec. 2021, www.blackcanadianveterans.com/post/este-clarence-gus. Accessed 17 Apr. 2023.

“Patrick, Erroll.” Black Canadian Veteran Stories, 10 Dec. 2021, www.blackcanadianveterans.com/post/patrick-erroll. Accessed 17 Apr. 2023.

“Black Canadians in Uniform — a Proud Tradition”. Veterans Affairs Canada, 26 Feb. 2020, www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/people-and-stories/black-canadians. Accessed 17 Apr. 2023.

CBC News. “Black Soldiers from Guelph Honoured in Digital Project.” CBC, 11 Nov. 2020, www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/black-canadian-soldiers-guelph-project-1.5797029. Accessed 17 Apr. 2023.

Chelangat, Valerie. “Black Contribution in War Efforts.” The Uniter, 12 Nov. 2012. uniter.ca/view/black-contribution-in-war-efforts. Accessed 17 Apr. 2023.

Joost, Mathias. “Black Canadians and Conscription in the First World War” The Canadian Encyclopedia, Feb. 2022. www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/black-canadians-and-conscription-in-the-first-world-war. Accessed 17 Apr. 2023.

Leeder, Jessica. “Black on the Battlefield: Canada’s Forgotten First World War Battalion.” The Globe and Mail, 9 Nov. 2018. www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-black-on-the-battlefield-canadas-forgotten-first-world-war-battalion/. Accessed 17 Apr. 2023.

Mathieu, Dr. Sarah-Jane. “Black Canadians and Canada’s Military”. Canadian War Museum. www.warmuseum.ca/learn/black-canadians-and-canadas-military/. Accessed 17 Mar. 2023.

Patrick, Keith. “Errol Eric Jr. Patrick” Beechwood Cemetery, Jan. 2021, beechwoodottawa.ca/en/services/errol-patrick. Accessed 17 Apr. 2023.

Vincent, Donovan. “Black Canadian Soldier’s Life and D-Day Exploits Remembered.” The Toronto Star, 24 Sept. 2013, www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/09/24/black_canadian_soldiers_life_and_dday_exploits_remembered.html. Accessed 17 Apr. 2023.

Books & Articles

Alexander, Ken, and Avis Glaze. Towards Freedom. Toronto, Ontario, Umbrella Press, 1996, pp. 62–63, 124–126. Read about the Victoria Pioneer Rifle Company an all Black regiment, and Black Canadian involvement in World War I.

Crawford Kilian. Go Do Some Great Thing : The Black Pioneers of British Columbia. Madeira Park, British Columbia, Harbour Publishing, 2020, pp. 86–91, 175–189. Read about the Victoria Pioneer Rifle Corps, an all Black militia unit formed in 1860.

Fil Fraser. How the Blacks Created Canada. Edmonton, Dragon Hill Pub, 2009, pp. 112–120. Read about the No. 2 Construction Battalion, the all Black battalion of World War I and William Edward Hall, the first Nova Scotian and first Black person to win the Empire’s highest award for bravery.

George Robert Fosty, and Darril Fosty. Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes 1895 – 1925. 2008. Halifax, Nimbus Publishing Ltd., 2017, pp. 160–180. Read about the formation and service of the No. 2 Construction Battalion in the Chapter entitled “A Battalion of Forgotten Soldiers.”

Hansen, Jan. Moments in Canadian Black History Gr. 4-8. Napanee, Ontario, On The Mark Press, 2004, pp. 56–57. Read about Seymour Tyler who served Canada in both world wars.

Humber, William. A Sporting Chance: Achievements of African-Canadian Athletes. Toronto, Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc., 2004, pp. 8–11. Read about the racial climate in Canada around the time periods of World War I and II in the chapter entitled “The Black Experience in Canada.”

Livesey, Robert, and A G Smith. Black Heritage. Markham, Ont., Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2006, pp. 54–59. Read about Black Canadian soldiers Richard Pierpoint and William Hall and Black Canadian involvement in The Mackenzie Rebellion of 1837.

Martin, Jeff A.D. Brothers from Canada: Role Models in Canadian Black History. Jeff A.D. Martin, 2023. Read about John “Army” Howard, Canada’s first Black Olympian who also served in World War I. Also read about “Black Soldiers Fighting for Canada” in World War I and World War II.

Mathieu, Sarah-Jane. North of the Color Line: Migration and Black Resistance in Canada, 1870-1955. Chapel Hill, The University of North Carolina Press, 2010, pp. 100–142. Read about the racial climate in Canada and Black Canadian military experiences during World War I in the Chapter entitled “Fighting the Empire.”

Newton, Akilah, and Tami Gabay. Les Grands Rêveurs: Le Cahier d’Activités Pour Enfants Sur l’Histoire Des Noirs Au Canada Volume 1. Vol. 1, Canada, Akilah Newton Projects Inc., 2020, p. 18. Lisez une version bien condensée de l’histoire du bataillon de construction n ° 2, le bataillon canadien entièrement noir de la Première Guerre mondiale.

Newton, Akilah, and Tami Gaby. Big Dreamers: The Canadian Black History Activity Book for Kids. Vol. 1, Canada, Bright Confetti Media Inc., 2018, p. 17. Read a nicely condensed version of the story of the No. 2 Construction Battalion, Canada’s all Black Battalion of World War I.

Newton, Akilah, and Omari Newton. Big Dreamers. Vol. 2, Canada, Akilah Newton Projects Inc., 2020, p. 19. Read about Piercy Augustus Haynes, the first Black person in the modern Royal Canadian Navy in World War II.

Newton, Akilah, and Omari Newton. Grands Reveurs: Le Cahier d’Activités Pour Enfants Sur l’Histoire Des Noirs Au Canada. Vol. 2, Canada, Akilah Newton Projects Inc., 2022, p. 19. Découvrez Piercy Augustus Haynes, le premier Noir de la Marine royale canadienne moderne pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

Reynolds, Graham. Viola Desmond’s Canada : A History of Blacks and Racial Segregation in the Promised Land. Halifax ; Winnipeg, Fernwood Publishing, 2016, pp. 39–41, 51–52. Read about Black Canadian involvement in the War of 1812 and the Mackenzie Rebellion as well as the racial climate in Canada around the time of WWI.

Ruck, Calvin W. The Black Battalion : 1916-1920 : Canada’s Best Kept Military Secret. Halifax, Ns, Nimbus Publishing, 2016. Read the full story of Canada’s all Black No. 2 Construction Battalion that served in World War I.

Sadlier, Rosemary. The Kids Book of Black Canadian History. Toronto, Kids Can Press, 2010, pp. 22–23; 40-41. Read about Black Canadian involvement in the War of 1812 in the chapter entitled “The Colored Corps” and about their involvement in the two world wars in the chapter entitled “Fighting in Two World Wars.”

Sadlier, Rosemary, and Gregory Birkett et al. Black History : Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. 2009. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute, 2018. Read about the Black Canadian involvement in military efforts in the chapter entitled “Oppression and Resistance: Canada and the United States.”

Tiyahna Ridley-Padmore. Trailblazers : The Black Pioneers Who Have Shaped Canada. Toronto, Ontario: Indigo Press, 2020, pp. 9–10. Read about Richard Pierpoint who fought in the War of 1812. Written in poetic form for younger children.

Winks, Robin W. The Blacks in Canada : A History. 2nd ed., Montreal, Mcgill-Queen’s Univ. Press, 2008, pp. 312–320. Read about the racial climate in Canada at the time of World War I, the reluctance of the army to enlist Black volunteers and the experiences of those who were enlisted.