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Rosemary Sadlier
Canadian Black History Historian (19?? - ) Canada
an 11 – Jan 24, 2024
Praising the Past

rosemary sadlier

The Honoree

Toronto’s Rosemary Sadlier traces her Canadian roots to 1783 when her father’s ancestors arrived in then British controlled New Brunswick as Black Loyalists who fled the USA during the British-American conflicts. Her mother’s ancestors arrived around 1840 via the Underground Railroad from, most likely, Virginia, USA.

As president of the Ontario Black History Society (1993 to 2015), Sadlier collaborated with the Historica Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Encyclopedia to create the Black History Canada web site. Sadlier also contributed to Canadian Black history being recognized through research, writings, exhibits, and outreach programs. Her advocacy was central to the Canadian government’s 1995 decision to make February Black History Month an annual celebration and its decision in 2021, to designate August 1, Emancipation Day, a day of national commemoration.

ontario map


In 2016, more than 4 in 10 Black people living in Canada were born in Canada. Black newcomers now come from approximately 125 different countries. Jamaica and Haiti are the main countries of birth for Black immigrants in Canada. The top countries of birth for Black immigrants admitted between 2011 and 2016 were Haiti, Nigeria, Jamaica, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

More than half (52.4%) of the total Black population in Canada call Ontario home. The province’s capital, Toronto, had the largest Black population in the country in 2016. In fact, 442,015 people (36.9% of Canada’s Black population) reported living in Toronto. Black people represented 7.5% of the city’s total population.

However, the fastest growing Black population in Canada was in the Prairies, where it more than quadrupled in size over 20 years, from 39,955 in 1996 to 174,655 in 2016 according to StatsCanada.

The Artist's Creative Explanation

"When working with 'non-models,' I invite my subjects to take their spot, instead of trying to pose them. I see how they stand naturally and make a few adjustments. From there, I engage them in a conversation that usually relaxes them. Often, I make them laugh, which always leads to a smile and the revelation of their personalities; then I captured their full image."

- lawrence kerr

- Photographer 
Lawrence E. Kerr

About "From These Shores"

From These Shores celebrates the accomplishments of 18 known and lesser-known Africans in the diaspora across time and geography. The 12 panels hang at the Juffureh Slavery Museum, The Gambia and online. Timbooktoo Bookstore in New Bakau, The Gambia and Mansa Musa Restaurant in Takoma Park, MD USA each display one of the panels.

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