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5 Black Canadians honoured on postage stamps


(© Canada Post Corporation, stamps background by Frantisek Krejci from Pixabay)

Social activist Kay Livingstone. Mail carrier Albert Jackson. Journalist Carrie Best. These are just a few examples of historical Canadians that appear on Black History Month stamps, along with many other notable figures who have contributed to major events in Canada.

If you are a philatelist (say “FILL-at-till-LIST”), or stamp collector, then you will have fun learning about these collector items issued by Canada Post.

Find out about the Black Canadians who paved their way and made their mark in history.

Albert Jackson

Mail carrier Albert Jackson, Canada Post stamp.
(© Canada Post Corporation)

In 1882, Albert Jackson overcame opposition and became the first Black letter carrier in Canada. Jackson served in this role for 36 years and delivered mail in the Harbord Village of Toronto, where he and his wife Henrietta lived with their four sons.

Interesting fact: As a child, Jackson and his family traveled through the Underground Railroad from Delaware, U.S.A., to Ontario to escape from slavery.

Carrie Best

Civil rights activist Carrie Best, Canada Post stamp.
(© Canada Post Corporation)

In 1946, civil rights activist Carrie Best and her son Calbert founded The Clarion, one of the first newspapers in Nova Scotia published by a Black owner. Best also started her own radio broadcast program in 1952 called The Quiet Corner, then founded the Kay Livingstone Visible Minority Women’s Society in 1975.

And if that wasn’t enough, she went on to write her autobiography in 1977. She was one busy woman!

Interesting fact: Best started writing poetry when she was four years old.

Kay Livingstone

Broadcastor and actor Kay Livingstone, Canada Post stamp
(© Canada Post Corporation)

Broadcaster and actor Kay Livingstone founded the Canadian Negro Women’s Association in 1951. Twenty years later, Livingstone organized the first National Congress of Black Women of Canada, connecting people across the country to discuss subjects important to Black Canadian women.

Interesting fact: Livingstone and her seven siblings helped their mom publish The Dawn of Tomorrow newspaper after their father had passed.

Lincoln Alexander

Politician Lincoln Alexander, Canada Post stamp.
(© Canada Post Corporation)

Accomplished politician Lincoln M. Alexander became the first Black Canadian elected to Parliament in 1968, the first Black Canadian cabinet minister in 1979 and the first Black Canadian lieutenant-governor in 1985. To recognize Alexander’s contribution to the country, Canada celebrates Lincoln Alexander Day every January 21.

Interesting fact: Alexander has four schools named after him: Lincoln Alexander Public School in Ajax, Ont., Lincoln Alexander Elementary School in Hamilton, Ont., Lincoln Alexander Public School in Markham, Ont., and Lincoln M. Alexander Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont..

Viola Desmond

Civil rights activist, Viola Desmond — Canada Post stamp.
(© Canada Post Corporation)

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, civil rights activist and entrepreneur Viola Desmond inspired Canadians throughout the country when she challenged racial discrimination in a segregated theatre in 1946. Decades later, Desmond’s sister, Wanda Robson, published a book about Viola’s continued fight for racial equality called Sister to Courage.

Interesting fact: Since 2018, Desmond has also been featured on Canada’s $10 bill, the country’s first vertically-oriented banknote.