“‘I didn’t want to be anything special. I just wanted to teach school’: A Case Study of Black Female Educators in Colchester, Ontario, 1960”

The story of School SecBon #11 (S.S. #11) stood as a sharp reminder of racial injustice and the black experience in Canada. Located in Essex County, Ontario, the separate school maintained a predominately black student attendance until 1965, when parents and school board members negotiated its eventual closure. As the location of the last racially segregated school in Ontario, Canada, S.S. #11 remained one of the many institutional forms of racial segregation in Canada. This paper endeavors to prove that national policies surrounding multiculturalism and human rights did not eradicate local practices of racial prejudice and discrimination. More importantly, I will argue two main points, first, that African Canadian action in Colchester stood as a microcosm of black activism throughout Canada. The second part of this paper will focus on S.S. #11's black teachers who advocated equal education while holding paradoxical positions of compliance and resistance within the Colchester community. In advancing a case study on Colchester Township, this paper proposes to examine fragmented province-wide educational standards and problematic race relations in Colchester as indicative of lived experiences in various Canadian communities. Ultimately, this research will speak about subtle nuances in the Canadian educational system that tended to remove blacks as Canadian citizens and active historical agents.

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