The third installment of our Black History Month blog series will focus on the Honorable Jean Augustine.
Jean Madeline Augustine was born September 9, 1937 in Grenada. However, she immigrated to Canada at the age of 23 to study at the University of Toronto. There Augustine received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters in Education.
Augustine was very involved in community organizations pertaining to education as well as being active in social justice. She served with the National Black Coalition of Canada (NBCC), which was a coalition of twenty-eight black organizations, including church groups, cultural, athletic, community development and political groups. The NBCC was the first Canadian national civil rights organization addressing the social, economic and political barriers of the black community. Augustine also sat on the Board of Trustees for The Hospital for Sick Children and was Chair of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority.
In the 1993 Federal Election, Augustine became the first Black Canadian woman to be elected to the Parliament of Canada.
Augustine is such an exceptional individual that we simply cannot name her every achievement, or this blog post would be incredibly long. What we do want to highlight though, is that she was solely responsible for pushing forward legislation to recognize February as Black History Month in Canada. It was unanimously supported 305 to 0 in 1995.
Jean Augustine was a genuinely fascinating person. It would be well worth your time to delve into some of her accomplishments yourself as well. She knew the importance of commemorating Black individuals and their contributions to society. Something we take very seriously and want to share with our Membership.
We will see you all next week for our final blog post in this series to honour Black History Month!