Rosemary Sadlier

Rosemary Sadlier

Author/Doctoral Candidate/President, Ontario Black History Society, Toronto, ON. Born: Toronto, ON. (Originally posted July 22/2010.)

Rosemary Sadlier has served since 1993 as the volunteer President of the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS), the first and only provincial heritage organization in Canada focused on African-Canadian history. February was first proclaimed as Black History Month in Toronto in 1979 due to the efforts of the OBHS; under Sadlier’s leadership, the OBHS obtained the formal proclamation of February as Black History Month at the Ontario level and initiated the national declaration in Canada – effective December, 1995. The OBHS has also initiated the formal celebration of August 1st as Emancipation Day, obtained at the Provincial level, and pending nationally. Sadlier has represented the OBHS as a judge on the final selection committee of the Mathieu Da Costa Awards – the programme devised by Canadian Heritage to mark the OBHS inspired national declaration of February as Black History Month. The OBHS worked to create an Underground Railroad exhibit, with Parks Canada and others, to be gifted to the OBHS for inclusion in their planned cultural centre/museum of African-Canadian history in Toronto.

On behalf of the OBHS, she has given Black history presentations across Ontario. Additionally, she has presented at summer institutes, libraries, forums and conferences in Toronto, Halifax, Kingston, Calgary, Ottawa and Victoria; in the United States at conferences in Memphis, Philadelphia, Rochester and Washington, D.C.; and internationally at Curacao and Trinidad & Tobago. She participated in a U.S. – Canadian Bi-National Charette and tour of the Underground Railroad. She has made presentations to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and to the UN Rapporteur on Racism. Her work with the OBHS, in addition to her recent publications, including the best selling title, The Kids Book of Black Canadian History, have made her a frequent guest on national television and radio.

Works: Film: Includes  Seeking Salvation: A History of the Black Church in Canada, and A Scattering of Seeds: the Mary Ann Shadd Story. Authored:  Black History: Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas (2009); The Kids Book of Black Canadian History (2003); Tubman, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, her life in the United States and Canada (1996); Mary Ann Shadd: Publisher, Editor, Teacher, Lawyer, Suffragette (1995); Leading the Way; Black Women in Canada (1993).

Honours: Includes the William Peyton Hubbard Race Relations Award; Woman for PACE Award; the Black Links Award; the Planet Africa Marcus Garvey Award; a Harry Jerome Award; the Order of Ontario; and she is a Kentucky Colonel!

Education: Master of Social Work; Bachelor of Education, University of Toronto; BA/Hons. York University; doctoral candidate of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

Given the chance, what would you love to do but have not done yet? I would like to see the actualization of the OBHS’s plan for a centre for African-Canadian history and culture in Toronto. This national centre is essential for Canadians, of all backgrounds, to further our understanding and appreciation of the contributions and achievements of Canadians of African origin; to have the honour of visiting & exploring Africa, to further my own awareness; and I would like to celebrate not just OBHS initiated national observance of February as Black History Month, but also to see August 1st as Emancipation Day, happen in Canada.

Who inspires you? My family!! My parents have sustained me in my early years, my husband has supported me in recent years, and my children have inspired me.

Why do you do what you do? My family has in various ways, lead me to seek more knowledge, to serve others and to craft the means to make a difference for their benefit and for the broader community.

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