Gerald Augustus Archambeau was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and was sent to Montreal in 1947. He worked for Canadian Pacific and Canadian National until the 1960s, when declining passenger rail traffic and the ascendence of air travel caused him to switch to a career with a major Canadian airline in Toronto. After his retirement from the airline, Gerald settled in St. Catharines, Ontario.
A Struggle to Walk With Dignity
Gerald Augustus Archambeau was born in Jamaica in 1933. Raised in Kingston by his three aunts, he was sent to Canada in 1947 to join his mother and stepfather in Montreal. He trained in the plumbing and steam-fitting trade, but at age eighteen decided to join the railway as a passenger car porter. He worked for Canadian Pacific and Canadian National until the 1960s, when declining passenger rail traffic and the ascendence of air travel caused him to switch to a career with a major Canadian airline in Toronto.
After his retirement from the airline, Gerald and his wife, Marion, settled in St. Catharines, Ontario.
I'm developing a training program for Blacks and Hispanics and Gerald Archambeau's riveting book will be required reading. A Struggle to Walk with Dignity has taken me through a full range of emotions from sadness, joy (when his seemingly spring-loaded arm punched out bullies) and to the depths of anger at the racism so prevalent in our societies. Yet I could feel his determination not to be destroyed by negativism.
Growing up in America/Canada taught us to always treat people fairly. The problem was most times it ended up backfiring as fairness was interpreted as weakness. I'm going to make it mandatory that everyone in our household reads A Struggle to Walk with Dignity. What is most amazing to me is the solid man who rose out of that struggle and even found time to fight for the rights of others.
The Human Rights Act came out after Gerry did the pioneering work. Where he originally cut the path is a four-lane highway now.
His experience as a Black immigrant arriving in Canada in the 1940s touches themes central to the country's identity. In the face of the racism he encountered, Archambeau never lost hope that positive change was possible and that he would assume a role in affecting such change.
This book is a must-read for any new immigrant coming to Canada in search of a better life and how to avoid the pitfalls that often befall them. Gerald Archambeau, with his personal testimony and a strong sense of faith in the human spirit, uplifts, encourages and teaches how to 'walk with dignity' when all the cards were seemingly stacked against him.
...what you have is an autobiography that succeeds in maintaining your interest as it weaves in and out of different time frames and places.