Nova Scotia

Black activist Ruck dies

Calvin Woodrow Ruck, the African-Nova Scotian activist and senator, has died.

Calvin Woodrow Ruck, the African-Nova Scotian activist and senator, has died.

The Sydney native worked as a labourer, porter and janitor before going back to school to get a diploma in social work.

Over the years, Ruck worked to ensure African-Nova Scotians were welcome at barbershops and other businesses. He volunteered at the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and the Black Cultural Centre.

In an interview with CBC Radio five years ago, Ruck said the civil rights movement in the United States inspired him. "I felt a little ashamed that we were allowing ourselves to be pushed around [and] refused service in restaurants."

Ruck was also an historian and author, focusing on the war efforts of African-Canadians.

He was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1995 and appointed to the Senate in 1998.

Upon Ruck's retirement from the Senate in 2000, his colleague Al Graham remembered him as someone who fought for equality and "always looked with the heart."

Ruck died Tuesday at his son's home in Ottawa after a long illness. He was 79.

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