Dr. S. F. Monestime Black History Month Events a Success
As mentioned here recently
Canada’s first black mayor was
recognized last month on the 50th anniversary of his becoming Canada’s
first black mayor in Mattawa on
January first 1964.
Toronto City Hall Exhibition
A major exhibition on Dr. Monestime in the Rotunda at
TorontoCity Hall was held from February 17
to 23rd. It was organized by a black Caribbean group Festival Kompa
Zouk (FKZO) which took it on as a Black History Month project. Vala Monestime
Belter and I were contacted for support and since nothing else was planned here
we gave our full support.
Choir opens the photo exhibit event
Sari Jean Francois from FKZO arranged to acquire the CD of
the many photos etc. in my book- Where Rivers Meet and reproduced, enlarged and
mounted many of the graphics and added English and French captions. The photos
were mounted on 15 large elevated panels in the Rotunda at City Hall for all to
see. We visited prior to the event and there was much interest in the display.
On February 18th there was an Opening of the
in front of the display. A large
group of guests arrived for the event including many Haitians.
The event started with a presentation by a large choir of
young black teenagers with several remarkable soloists who got the audience’s
full attention for 25 minutes. This was followed by a number of speakers
including MPP Vic Fideli a friend of the Monestime family. Dr. Rosemary Sadlier,
President of the Black History Society and Dr. Eric Pierre Honorary Consul for
Toronto spoke. Vala Monestime Belter and I
spoke on Dr. Monestime’s life as
Canada’s first black Mayor.
Vala Monestime Belter speaking
The event was followed by refreshments and conversation. My
son had a booth set up for our book on Dr. Monestime and many copies were sold.
Global Television was on site and the Toronto Star made note of the events.
Sascha Monestime with his three daughters talking to Dr E Pierre Honorary
Consul for Haiti in Toronto in front of the photo exhibit.
Special Event at the Legislature
Opening day of the Ontario Legislature coincided with the
opening of the
Toronto event and Vic Fideli asked the
Monestime family, friends, including my son and I to attend in the afternoon. As
we sat in the Members’ Gallery he drew the legislature’s attention to our
presence and talked about Dr. Monestime and named his guests. A very touching
and moving experience.
On February 25th CBC Sudbury’s Points North host
Jason Turnbull called and asked me for an on-air interview on Dr. Monestime and
the Toronto events. We had a pleasant 10 minute conversation on some of the
highlights of the Monestime family contribution .This topped off a series of
well deserved recognitions of the family’s contribution.