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Wednesday, September 18, 2019
 
 
Nancy Allen
Beulah Harding Couzzens
Josiah Henson
Mrs. Eunice Hyatt Kersey
Lois Larkin
Dr. H. D. Taylor
Howard D. McCurdy
Jim Walls
Ada Kelly Whitney
 
 
Nancy Allen
 
Nancy Allen examines artifacts from slavery era – Photo courtesy of Heather Soulliere

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Nancy Allen was born Nancy Chase in Buxton, Ontario. She moved to Windsor as a young child and lived on McDougall Street. She attended Dougall Avenue Public School and Patterson Collegiate before going on to Teacher’s College and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History at the University of Windsor.

Nancy was an employee of the Windsor Board of Education for thirty-two years. She completed a four year appointment to the Program Department as an Assistant Coordinator for Social Sciences and Junior Grade Programs. Ms. Allen was also actively involved in writing teams dealing with Social Sciences and was the Chairperson of the grade eleven Curriculum for the

Canadian Black Studies development team. She developed a classroom strategy program, which encouraged students to complete extra homework, titled The Rainbow Club. Nancy Allen was awarded the Isabel Lawson Memorial Award from the Federation of Women Teacher Associations of Ontario for her work.

Although she is retired Nancy remains actively involved in many community groups and causes. She has been a member of the Essex County Historical Cemeteries Preservation Society, The Essex County Black Historical Research Society and the Underground Railroad Monument Committee. She is a key figure in the development of the African Canadian Community Centre of Windsor and Essex County and continues to organize fundraising events. Nancy is currently the Chairperson of the Special Projects Committee at the centre and has been the guiding light throughout the development of this website.

 
Beulah Harding Couzzens
 
Beulah Harding Couzzens, photo courtesy of 'The Long Road'
  Beulah Harding Couzzens attended school in Chatham, Ontario. She studied at Teacher’s College in London Ontario and graduated in 1927. She was a teacher at Shrewsbury public school and later taught in a segregated school in the Harrow area until 1967. Lois Larkin recalls teaching with Ms. Couzzens and how she was ahead of her time in organizing her classwork around themes which drew upon her many travels. Mrs. Couzzens was a member of the Hour-A-Day Study Club.
 
Josiah Henson
 
Josiah Henson –, Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star (2/05/1949
  Josiah Henson was born into slavery in Maryland. When he arrived in Canada with his family was a pioneer in the field of education. He established the British American Institute at the Dawn Settlement (now Dresden) to provide training in the technical skills necessary for successful settlement in Canada.
 
Mrs. Eunice Hyatt Kersey
 
Mrs. Eunice Hyatt Kersey, photo courtesy of NABHM
  Mrs. Eunice Hyatt Kersey was the daughter of James Hyatt who owned one of the largest florist/greenhouses in the city of Windsor. She was a graduate of Windsor Collegiate Institute and London Teachers College. She began teaching in 1917. She taught school in a rural area for two years to fulfill her requirements. When she returned to teach in Windsor she was only the second African Canadian teacher in the city. She taught at Mercer Street School for two years until she married. Mrs. Hyatt Kersey was also the historian for the First Baptist Church and a founding member of the Arts and Literary Club in Windsor.
 
Lois Larkin
 
Lois Larkin, photo courtesy of Lois Larkin

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  Lois was born Lois Jean Smith in Niagara Falls, New York. Lois moved with her family to Windsor in September of 1942. She grew up living above the Walker House Hotel of which her father was the owner and operator. (See the people in business section) Lois first attended school at Mercer Street School in Windsor on September 19th 1942. When Mercer Street School was destroyed by fire she attended Frank W. Begley school and went on to Hon. J. C. Patterson Collegiate.

Lois attended Teachers College in Toronto and completed her studies at Windsor Teachers College June 1963. At that time teacher education required a prospective teacher to teach in a rural school for two summer school sessions and 2 school years to receive a teaching certificate.
 
Lois taught at the last segregated school in the region in S.S. #11 Colchester South (Harrow) with Mrs. Beulah Couzzens. She then taught at S.S. # 5 in Shrewsbury. In 1963 Ms. Larkin joined the teaching staff at Dougall Avenue Public School where she remained for 20 years and then taught for ten more at Victoria Public School until her retirement in 1993. Lois Larkin is remembered fondly by students who refer to her as not only an excellent teacher but an inspiration.
 
Dr. H. D. Taylor
 
Dr. H. D. Taylor receives Civitan International Award ‘Citizen of the Year 1956’– Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star (30/05/1957)
  Dr. H.D. Taylor was the first African Canadian physician in Windsor. Dr. Taylor served on the Windsor Board of Education from 1935 to 1963. He served 6 terms as the chairman of the board. He was the recipient of the Civitans Citizen of the Year Award in 1956. Campbell Avenue school was renamed in his honour in as Dr. H. D. Taylor School.
 
Howard D. McCurdy
 
Howard D. McCurdy, photo courtesy of NABHM
  Howard D. McCurdy was born in London, Ontario on December 10, 1932 and moved to Amherstburg with his parents in 1941. In 1950 Howard moved to Windsor to attend Assumption University where he earned a degree in Science in 1953. He completed his post-graduate studies at Michigan State University. Dr. McCurdy received his Ph.D. degree in Microbiology and Physical and Biological Chemistry in 1959. In 1959 Dr. McCurdy became a member of the faculty of the University of Windsor eventually becoming a tenured professor in the biology department and president of the Faculty Association.
 
Dr. McCurdy was very involved in the struggle for human rights and justice. He was the first president of the Guardian Club in Windsor and very involved with many organizations in the community. His interest in social justice led him to a career in politics. In 1984 Howard McCurdy ran as a New Democratic Party (N.D.P) candidate in the federal election. He was elected to the House of Commons and was the first African Canadian to sit as an New Democratic Member of Parliament. He was re-elected to his seat in 1988 and ran for the leadership of the N.D.P. in 1989.
 
Jim Walls
 
Jim Walls was the first African Canadian to become the Principal of a school in the Windsor and Essex County Public School Board. He was the Principal of H.D. Taylor Public School until the time of his retirement in 2005. Jim Walls was a contributor to the African Canadian Roads to Freedom Curriculum Guide.
 
Ada Kelly Whitney
 
Ada Kelly Whitney, photo courtesy of NABHM
  Ada Kelly, the daughter of Elizabeth and William Kelly of Windsor, was May 31, 1893. She was a talented student and went on to apply for a teaching position at the Windsor School board. She was accepted and in so doing she became the first woman of African descent to teach in an Ontario Public School Board. She married JRB Whitney and moved to the United States.
 
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