I'm not a black Canadian; I'm a Canadian

I'm not a black Canadian; I'm a Canadian

Posted on January 21 by Lincoln Alexander
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“I’m not a black Canadian;  I’m a Canadian.”

Lincoln Alexander, my husband, made it very clear that all his life was lived with this declaration. His life experience was inextricably, simultaneously and proudly, as a Canadian. He made that very clear from day one in parliament.  

“I am not the spokesman for the Negro; that honour has not been given to me.  Do not let me ever give anyone that impression.  However, I want the record to show that I accept the responsibility of speaking for (those folks) and all others in this great nation who feel that they are subjects of discrimination, because of race, creed or colour.”

Lincon was dedicated to find empowerment through education.  This motivation came from the memory of his mothing saying; “Go to school, you’re a little black boy”.  

After the war, Lincoln had a choice.  He could apply for housing grants or he could apply for a university education. He chose the latter and went to McMaster University in 1949. This launched him into his wonderfully successful career, following his heart.

When he was barred from a job as a salesman at a Hamilton steel company, he went to law school, graduating from Osgoode Hall in 1953 at the top of his class.

Despite being Ontario’s first black vice-regal from 1985–1991, Lincoln's greatest pride were his granddaughters and his loving wife ‘Tody’.  He was completely devoted to them.

I was pleased to be able to join Lincoln in the latter part of his life, getting him where he was determined to go, attending worthwhile funding events, visiting schools and holding court wherever he went.

Although I had a full time job at the Hamilton daily newspaper for 15 years, I found it impossible to attend to all of Lincoln’s important needs, and keep my full time job. I also had my 100 acre farm north of Barrie and my home in Burlington.

I let go of the job, the farm and the house in order to assist the love of my life achieve his goals up until his very last breath.

Two weeks before my dear passed, we met with Brian Mulroney at the Toronto Club.  They both chatted as if time had stood still.

Lincoln was my prince, but I learned to share him with his loving public.  It was his desire to guide the black Canadian identity through racial barriers of the past and he inspired others to believe that it is the strength of self-realization, through education, that is best suited to conquer the modern complexities of black Canadian poverty, unemployment, crime, violence and most importantly, academic under-achievement.

I do hope that the memory of Lincoln will inspire black Canadians and all others to live actively and vocally with the grace, dignity and courage that Lincoln exemplified.


Mrs. (Marni) Lincoln Alexander

Lincoln Alexander

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Lincoln Alexander

Lincoln M. Alexander graduated from McMaster University and Osgoode Hall law school, was elected to the Canadian House of Commons as the Hamilton West representative in 1968, and served as the 24th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1985 to 1991. He was the chancellor of the University of Guelph and served on the boards of many cultural and charitable organizations.