Library and Archives Canada, the Ottawa Public Library and the Ottawa International Writers Festival invite you to the launch of They Call Me George: The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canadaby Cecil Foster. The event will be hosted by Adrian Harewood, co-host of CBC News Ottawa.
They Call Me George is a historical work that chronicles the little-known stories of Black railway porters—the so-called “Pullmen” of the Canadian rail lines. The actions and spirit of these men helped define Canada as a nation in surprising ways—affecting race relations, human rights, North American multiculturalism, community building, the shape and structure of unions, and the nature of travel and business across the U.S. and Canada.
Drawing on the stories and legends of several of these influential early Black Canadians, award-winning author, academic and journalist Cecil Foster narrates the history of a very visible, but rarely considered, aspect of Black life in railway-age Canada. These porters—who struggled against the idea of Canada as “White Man’s Country,” open only to European immigrants—fought for and won a Canada that would provide opportunities for all its citizens.