From Black Female Miss Canada to Journalists and Writers

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 4th Nov 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>General

Continuing with the series on Famous Black female Canadians, today we will be reviewing, the first Black Miss Canada, writer, researcher, journalist, activist, and journalist Mary Ann Shadd.

Juliette Powell.

While American celebrate Black history month, Canadians do as well. The beginning of the recognition of Blacks and their history happened in Ontario Canada when the Canadian Negro Women's Association was able to petition the Toronto Government to create Black history month in the 1950s. On December 14, 1995 the Canadian government declared Black history month for all Canadians including Montrealers.

Black history month is of particular importance to women who have known oppression all their lives. Black history is a celebration of triumph over diversity. It is a women’s issue to the highest degree.

Today we celebrate a Black Montrealer is Juliette Powell. She was originally born in New York but once her parents divorced she came back to Montreal, with her French Canadian mother. She was just 8 years old at the time. Juliette is perfectly bilingual.

Juliette won Miss Canada in 1989; she was the first Black Montreal and Black Canadian to win. She studied in the field of business and finance at Montreal’s McGill University and was the host for MusiquePlus in 1992. She also hosted Bouge de là which ended in 1996.

In 1996 she moved to Toronto to continue her media career in MuchMusic. She was also studying finance at the University of Toronto at the time. She is the founder of Powell International Entertainment Inc; a media and consulting company. She has co-authored the section on media for the UN Plan of Action.

She also wrote a book on how to run a successful business by using the social media networks.

Mairuthm Hodge Sarsfield

Today we celebrate a Black Montrealer author, researcher, journalist, activist and TV personality named Mairuthm Hodge Sarsfield

Mairuth was born and raised in Montreal. She has been employed by CBC Canada, TV Ontario and CTV. During the time she worked in the Canadian External Affairs Department, she took on various projects such as Montreal’s Expo 67 and Japan’s Osaka Expo 70.Sarsfield worked for the UN in the capacity of senior information officer for United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya. "For Every Child a Tree" is a program that she has developed while working for the UN. Sarsfield authored, No Crystal Stair which made the list for Canada Reads 2005.


  • No Crystal Stair(1997)
  • My Friend and I
  • The Fourth Wise Man

  • Awards

  • National Congress of Black Women Foundation's First Literary Award, for No Crystal Stair
  • African Canadian Achievement Award
  • Chevalier, Ordre national du Québec

Mary Ann Shadd

Today we celebrate a famous American Black activist that holds a special meaning for Montrealers.

Mary Ann Shadd was born in Delaware before the days of unsegregated schools. She was born in 1823 to Harriet and Abraham Shadd who both free blacks. She was one of the key players in the Underground Railroad.

Shadd moved to Canada with her brother and started a racially integrated school. Political ideologies clashed between her and the Black Canadian Community leader Henry Bibb. Bibb ran The Voice of the Fugitive, so she and Samuel Ringgold Ward started The Provincial Freeman to address his attacks. The newspaper was one of the longest running prior to the civil war and dealt with many women’s issues including, racial discrimination all over North America, black self- help strategies, civil rights issues, moral rights for all people including blacks and so on.

Shadd campaigned for racial equality and desegregation and the end of slavery in North America. During the civil war in America, Shadd returned to the States to teach. She continued her activism giving speech. She became a lawyer in 1883 which made her the second woman to receive a law degree in the USA. She also wrote for National Era and The People's Advocate. She was also a member of National Woman Suffrage Association and became the first women to vote in a federal election.

Mary Ann Shadd and the Shadd family are highly respected in Montreal. This examiner’s son attended Shadd Academy in Montreal when he was a teenager. Montreal women who have an avid interest in Women’s issues can take courses at the Concordia University’s Simone de Beauvoir institute.

All photos taken from the public domain
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Black History, Famous Black Canadians, Famous Black Women, First Black Miss Canada, Juliette Powell, Mairuthm Hodge Sarsfield, Mary Ann Shadd, Miss Canada, Underground Railroad

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author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
5th Nov 2015 (#)

Carol, thanks for sharing such a great article. I found it to be very interesting.

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author avatar Shamarie
5th Nov 2015 (#)

Great article, Carol! I remember Juliette Powell!!!

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
5th Nov 2015 (#)

Interesting post! Lady A SHHHH!

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author avatar brendamarie
5th Nov 2015 (#)

Very interesting article Carol!!!!

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