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COLLECTIONUnpublished articles
TITLEBlack Roses in Canada's Mosaic: Four Decades of Black History
AUTHOR 1Will C. van den Hoonaard
AUTHOR 2Lynn Echevarria-Howe
ABSTRACTSurvey of African-Americans in Canada, their activities in the Bahá'í community, and statistical information.
TAGSAfrican Americans; Bahá'í history by country; Canada; Canada
CONTENT Introduction

       To present a glimpse of those Blacks who entered the Bahá'í community requires ones to know the context of the life of Blacks in general. It is important to know the racial climate, the political, economic, and social situation of the times to realize what courage, what perseverance it took for Blacks to take the step outside their own community and into the dominant white society. Any research undertaken to examine these conditions makes one realize anew how oppressive were both the limitations of the larger society and the distinctions within the Black community itself and how they both dictated and constrained the type of life a black person could live.

       Throughout the surveyed period, there are too few Blacks in the Canadian Bahá'í community (see Appendix A) to make any valid generalizations about the Bahá'í community as a whole.       

       Aside from the fact that research on the Canadian Bahá'í community, in general, is just beginning, the small proportion of Blacks in both the Canadian society and Bahá'í community has not stimulated examination of the social history of Blacks in the Canadian context. More importantly, there is a dearth of reliable, primary sources from which potentially useful information could be drawn. Bahá'í archives in Canada are too poorly organized to mount a comprehensive study of any facet of the Bahá'í community. Hence, the situation of Black Bahá'ís in Canada must be explored through the eye-witness accounts of a small number of still-surviving early believers, both Black and White.

Brief Survey of Blacks in Canada

       The earliest "unobserved" (Morrison, 1987: 1) presence of Blacks in Canada dates back over 350 years. Perhaps the earliest Black in Canada was Matthew Da Costa ( -1607), a member and interpreter of the Poutrincourt expedition of Champlain, the "father of Canada." (Bertley, 1977: 23) During those 350 years, the Blacks in Canada have come from a wide variety of geographical areas, depending sometimes upon the region settled in Canada. Blacks in Eastern Canada constitute perhaps the largest influx, approximately 3,000 Loyalists and 1,500 slaves (Clairmont and Wien, 1978), who came with the white Loyalists after the American Revolutionary War in 1783. Canada's Black population also included a sizeable number of slaves (including those from the other British colonies) and freemen who were living in relative isolation in Canada "well into the twentieth century" (Morrison, 1987: 1). The 1812 war between the United States and the United Kingdom resulted in another 2,000 Black refugees coming to Canada's Eastern Shores.

       In Central Canada, which includes Montreal in Quebec, and Ontario, the Black population was largely derived from West- Indian immigrants or descendants of the "Underground Railroad," in addition to those who had arrived earlier with the French. (Laferrière, 1982: 24) In British Columbia, one finds descendants of Blacks who ventured from America's West coast as gold-diggers.

       During these three-and-half centuries, a "parallel society" took shape (Clairmont and Wien, 1978) and separate schools and churches were still the social norm in the 1960s. Institutional racism meant that Blacks were excluded from cemeteries, theatres, residential areas, schools, and unions. One Black describing his memories of the absence of Blacks in visible jobs in the 1920s and 1930s states that, "I never once saw a black nurse, secretary, politician, teacher, policeman, fireman, civil servant, clerk in a department store, trade union or business leader" (Henry, 1981: 3). This anti-black feeling, and the smallness of the black population maintained the black communities' isolation, and effectively curbed them from acquiring any strengths economically or politically (Henry 1981). Yet, despite the commonality of discrimination which both Canadian and American Blacks share, there are several important differences which set the Canadians apart from the Americans.

       First, the Canadian black population consists primarily of those of West-Indian and loyalist origin, in addition to those who fled slavery.

       Second, there is no national Canadian organization which would have united the Blacks who are extremely diverse in social and historial makeup. As a consequence, Black leadership in Canada seems to consist of local leaders, rather than national ones.

       Third, within that parallel society social differentiation among blacks was based upon ethnicity, class and shades of colour. Depending upon the diversity of black settlement within a city it was possible to find, as in the case of Toronto in the 1930s: black migrants from Nova Scotia, established "old line" families who had been settled since the mid 1800s and had intermarried with white families,[1] West-Indian immigrant families of domestics or immigrant families of West-Indian school teachers, and American blacks.

       The old black families had an economic and social status different than the more recent, darker blacks. It has been noted that the lighter skinned blacks were among the established prominent people in the community (Lightman, 1948: 13).

       Class differences kept poor and working-class blacks separate from the blacks with better jobs, usually those who worked on the railway as porters. These men were considered middle class because they had the best paying jobs and subsequently were able to afford better housing and better education for their children when it became available (Hayes, 1988; Henry, 1981).

       American Blacks in Toronto were considered more aggressive and able to integrate more fully into city life as they had more experience in a dominant white environment. The West Indians, who had come from a large community of blacks, were more race conscious, and kept their national pride by staying separate as a group. They were critical of the Toronto-born blacks who had not progressed as far as they had occupationally, socially, or economically (Lightman, 1948). The Nova Scotian migrants (aside from sons of clergymen) were described as being "socially disorganized and disoriented" (Henry, 1981).

       Fourth, prejudice was uninstitutionalized and unorganized which made the struggle against prejudice more elusive and difficult. Braithwaite (1944:2) quotes a black from Toronto:

In Canada we have not had to fight Jim Crow, poll tax and other evils that replaced the 8 year democracy after the Civil War. But we have had to fight, and are still fighting for the right to education, to choose the work we are fitted for, to get any work until recently, to get proper homes to live in, health and recreations with other young people, social and civil rights.

       Finally, the Blacks in Canada have had a longer period of legal freedom. However, there is evidence which shows that slaves were being auctioned on the block in Nova Scotia. For example, Hamilton (1982:33) speaks of a time when "Black female slaves were called upon to do more than simple domestic chores for their masters." There were also Black "freemen" who having come come with the White Loyalists, "bore the euphemistic title `servant for life'." Both of these groups joined the small number of Black slaves already present in Nova Scotia." (Hamilton, 1982:33). Currently, slavery does exist in the minds of many, as more history is rewritten and reconstructed by the oppressed themselves.

       World War II was the beginning of great change for the black community. The war opened up more economic opportunities. Those industries and offices undergoing labour shortages began to hire blacks. "The job ceiling was broken in semi-skilled work and there was a slight filtering into clerical work" (Lightman, 1948:49). The number of people in the skilled and professional classes increased. The war and also Fair Enployment legislation facilitated the interaction of the races (Canadian Citizenship Branch, 1960).

       Since the 1960s, however, the number of Blacks in Canada has seen a vast increase, partly due to the arrival, as immigrants, of those from the Caribbean. The total Black population in Canada is currently (1986) 170,340 (Census Canada, 1987), or 0.68 % percent of the total Canadian population (see Table 1).

       An initial perusal of the material on hand shows that the major concentration of Black-Bahá'í history can be traced through the activities of Bahá'ís in Montréal, the Yukon, Atlantic Canada, and Toronto. Cross-cutting regional variations are temporal ones. For the surveyed period (1920-1965), sixteen Blacks enrolled in the Bahá'í Faith. The earliest period (1920-1942) saw the declaration of four Blacks; between 1943-1946, we see eight new adherents; and between 1947-1965, we have five names on record. Our account will inevitably stress the 1943-46 period, of which we have still-living traces in Toronto.

Table 1

Distribution of Canada's Black Population, 1986

                 Number          %

Newfoundland      55             *
Nova Scotia       7,890          4.6
P.E.I.            50             *  
N.B.              935            0.6
Quebec            36,785         21.6
Ontario           108,710        63.8
Manitoba          3,665          2.2
Saskatchewan      905            0.5
Alberta           7,235          4.2
British Columbia  3,995          2.3
Yukon             10             *
N.W.T.            105            0.1

Totals          170,340         100.0 (rounded)

* Percentage too small

Source: Census Canada (1987).

Early Black Bahá'ís of Montréal.

       Apparently, the first contact between the Bahá'ís and a Black church occurred during `Abdu'l-Bahá's visit to Montréal in September 1912, when He was asked by the church to speak to its congregation. `Abdu'l-Bahá had to decline the invitation on account of a very busy schedule (Mahmoud, n.d.: 132).[2] An account by Amine De Mille states that a childhood friend of Mary Maxwell, Eddie Elliot was the "only member of his race to become a Bahá'í during His [`Abdu'l-Bahá's] lifetime" (De Mille, 1962:56). We shall turn to Eddie Elliot later. In any event, Abdu'l-Bahá provided thus the essential example through which Mrs. May Maxwell, the "Mother of Canada," felt inspired to conduct work, both philanthropic and Bahá'í, among the Blacks in Montréal.

       It was through the diligence and intense interest in racial harmony of Mrs. May Maxwell and the spiritual thirst of the individuals involved that the first few Blacks entered the Faith in Canada. The magnet which drew these early believers to the Cause was the profound hospitality of her home, the remarkable attitude of her daughter, Mary, which was completely free of any racial prejudice. There is a telling account about Mrs. Maxwell about someone who paid a visit to her home:

... the first day that Miss X. went to visit before she was a Bahá'í, she went to visit May Maxwell at her invitation. And when she arrived, the maid came bustling down the stairs and said she really didn't think Mrs. Maxwell could be disturbed today, she was terribly sorry, and then Mrs. Maxwell herself came down the stairs and apologized profusely but she said that she had a woman upstairs giving birth to a baby because she was black and none of the hospitals would take her. So she was bringing in her own doctor and having this baby be born right in her house and would Miss X. mind coming back another day. (Irwin, 1982)
Mrs. Maxwell was also involved in the social and philanthropic work of the city. In 1927, for example, she became the honorary President of the Negro Club of Montréal (O'Neil, 1975).[3] The Club relieved hardship and aided the poor, and provided clothing to newly-arrived West Indian immigrants. It operated soup-kitchens for the unemployed, and burial plots for those who could not afford any, and its members volunteered as visiting mothers and mothers' aides. (Braithwaite, 1976: 59).

        The visit of Mr. Louis Gregory to the city during the summer of 1924 (Morrison, 1982: 117) had, probably, an important bearing in reinforcing May Maxwell's work in the area of race relations. The life of blacks in Montreal numbering at least 1,200, was "dwarfed to an unhealthy extent" (Montreal Council, 1928: 179). Facilities were practically negligible, according to a report of the Montreal Council of Welfare Agencies (1928: 178), except for pool rooms and flats on St. Antoine Street, between Windsor and Guy.

       By 1927, the Bahá'í community of North America had reached a propitious point in improving its racial climate. It is reported that when the National Convention of the North American Bahá'í Community was held in Montréal in April 1927, race "was discussed at length and with unprecendented frankness at the 19th Annual Convention in Montreal" (Morrison, 1982: 178). In any event, one of the early contacts made by May Maxwell was Rev. Charles H. Este, pastor of Montreal's only black church, the Union United Church which was formally organized in 1907. (Bertley, 1977: 165).[4] The Church was initially the first of all agencies to concen itself with the recreational, cultural, and educational activity for blacks in the city.

       Rev. Este was a personal friend of Mary Maxwell and visited the Maxwell home on many occasions. He also visited with her at the 1963 World Congress in London, England. He thus became a close friend of the Bahá'ís, although he never declared official-ly. Rev. Este received numerous awards for his contributions to religious, social, and community affairs.(Bertley, 1977: 279)

       The following account taken from the memoirs of Mr. Rowland Estall, an early Montréal believer, is a good illustration of her work among the Blacks in Montréal, and her neighbour's response to that work:

The [Maxwell] house was full of people, the Bahá'ís and many members of the Negro United Church of which Reverend Charles Este was pastor. Mrs. Maxwell had addressed Reverend Este's congregation the previous Sunday and had invited the congregation to visit her the following Thursday, or so. During the course of the evening, I was sitting beside Mrs. Maxwell in Mr. Maxwell's study and a maid came and said that Mrs. Maxwell was wanted at the front door. A policeman had arrived in response to a complaint from a next-door neighbour that there was some disturbance in the neigh-bourhood. Mrs. Maxwell said she was simply entertain-ing guests and invited the policeman to see for himself. Somewhat embarrassed and obviously taken aback by Mrs. Maxwell's charm and graciousness in invi-ting him to come in, he demurred and departed. This was one incident which demonstrates the hostility of some of the neighbours in that exclusive residential district at the time and to Mrs. Maxwell's unconcern for the prejudices of her neighbours...(Estall, 1977)[5]
       In any event, a number of people from Rev. Este's church on Atwater Street became Bahá'ís, including Canada's first Black Bahá'í and Mrs. Blackburn (a white woman who married a Black) and her two daughters, the latter's being members of the youth group of Montreal (Estall, 1977).

       Mr. Edward ("Eddie") Elliot (1902-1953) was to be the first member of his race to accept the Faith in Canada, during the lifetime of `Abdu'l-Bahá (De Mille, 1962:56). He was a member of Reverend Este's church. His mother had been a maid in Mrs. Maxwell's household and Mr. Eddie Elliot and Miss Mary Maxwell (later Ruhiyyíh Khanúm and wife of the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith) were close childhood friends and remained friends until his death in July 1953. Mr. Estall's account speaks further about Mr. Elliot's involvement in the Bahá'í community:

... as a youth, he [Mr. Elliot] was both part of the Bahá'í youth group and of a social club organized by Ruhiyyih Khanum called the "Fratority Club." By this word, Ruhiyyih Khanum meant to put together the words "fraternity" and "sorority" and had invited to belong to it people, mostly young students at McGill, who would otherwise not have been able to find membership in the exclusive fraternities and sororities around the campus.

       In later years, Eddie Elliot was often chairman of the local Spiritual Assembly of Montreal, although he remained a member of the Negro Church--retaining membership in one's church was not an uncommon practice among Bahá'ís during those early years. In an effort not to arouse suspicion among May Maxwell's neighbours, Eddie would arrive in the Maxwell home after dark (Gordon, 1990):

He [Eddie] was tops [in his field]. But because he was black, they [electric power company] gave him nothing, nothin, no credit. But they had him teach everyone else how to get up there and fix those currents...."When are you coming to my fireside." [I asked]. He said, "After dark, you know I wouldn't come when its light." So nine o'clock he's show up and it was time to go home. These are the sad things about those days.
       Mr. Elliot was a singer, in addition to his occupation of electrician, in which his company never allowed him to advance, but always asked him to train others (Gordon, 1990). According to Rowland Estall (1977: 53), he would often be asked to sing at the Maxwell home. He participated, as a representative of the Canadian National Spiritual Assembly, in the African Intercontinental Teaching Conference held in Kampala, Uganda, February 1953. (CBN No. 39, April 1953:2) His sudden death soon thereafter in July 1953 while working on a high-voltage transformer for the Montréal power utility bereft the Canadian Bahá'í community of the only member of his race to have embraced the Faith in Canada at that time.[6] He is buried in the Mount Royal Cemetery in Montréal. Mr. Estall describes him as a "very pure and distinguished soul," having "warmth and strength." He served as the "first bridge between black and white communities in Montréal" (Estall, 1977:53). At one time he was member of the Inter-Racial Board (Montreal Star, 11 July 1953) and the Committee of Management (Montreal Council, 1928: 178) of the Negro Community Centre . According to Amine De Mille (1962:56), "he distinguished himself by his loyal services, his honorable character, and his beautiful singing voice."

       Another Black who had become a member of Mary Maxwell's Fratority Club in those early days of the Faith in Montreal, although not a Bahá'í, was Dr. Phil Edwards (1907-1971) (Estall, 1977:34), Olympic champion and, apparently, the first black West Indian to graduate as a medical student from McGill University, Montréal.[7] A middle-distance runner, he participated in three Olympic Games (1928, 1932, 1936) and in the 1934 British Empire Games, winning increasingly greater honors (Ferguson, 1977:78). Apparently, Dr. Edwards attended firesides in the Maxwell home (Flournoy, 1988).              

       It was another eight years before another Black--Canada's , Mrs. Violet States, was to enroll in the Bahá'í Faith. Mrs. States was the organist in Rev. Este's Church and was the last one to have joined the Bahá'í community from that congregation. After her enrollment on 8 January 1961[8] in Verdun near Montréal, she has been a member of that Spiritual Assembly since that time, serving for many years as secretary.

       The Bahá'í interest in reaching Blacks was not confined to Montréal only. We know that Louis Gregory undertook a trip to Vancouver to speak at five meetings arranged by Marion Jack in the early 1920s (Morrison, 1982: 120). Little is as yet known about the context or the results of these meetings, however. While a Black woman enrolled in the Yukon Territory, Bahá'í attention to Blacks concentrated primarily on Canada's east coast, and in Toronto itself.

       To Yukon goes the distinction of having enrolled the first Black woman into the Bahá'í community, a Mrs. Dora Bray. Between 1922 and 1937 there were sporadic visits to this area by Bahá'ís, including Miss Orcella Rexford in 1922 who spoke to an audience of 550 at a public meeting in Dawson (Bahá'í World, 1945: 919). It was during this time that Mrs. Bray of Dawson enrolled in 1922 (Anderson, 1993). A school teacher she subsequently moved to Washington State (Anderson, 1987). She eventually became, in 1971, at the age of 105, the oldest living Bahá'í in the world (U.S. National Bahá'í Review, (45), September 1971: 1).[9]

       Our attention, however, now turns to Canada's eastern seaboard, where the settlement of Blacks had been an on-going historical feature of that social landscape.

Activities in Atlantic Canada.

       An early Bahá'í contact with a Black community took place in Saint John, New Brunswick, (known as "St. John" then) where Mrs. Dorothy Beecher, known as "Mother" Beecher, on a teaching trip to the area in 1919, had tried in vain to speak at a number of churches in the city. Even the "church of the coloured people" in Saint John refused Mother Beecher's request to speak to them in November or December.[10] It was not until four years later, during the 1923-24 winter, a more opportune time arose when a new pastor of the Black church, Rev. Stewart, "a wide awake, radiant soul," had "gladly consented" to Bahá'ís' speaking to his congregation.[11] Dr. Edna McKinney of Philadelphia spoke five times and Miss Jack gave an exhibition of her paintings. This was the first church ever to open its doors to the Bahá'í Faith in the East coast of Canada.[12] There was even an interest in starting a group "among the colored children" in that church.[13]

       Little is known of the results of what must have been exhilerating meetings, and we can but speculate that some 40 years later, during the late 1960s, the Bahá'í community of Saint John must have met the spiritual children from those early years. The Saint John Bahá'ís provided viable and memorable children's classes which included a large number of Black children. Such a service spilled out into the relationship of the Bahá'í community to the larger Black community of that port-city.

       Further East, the settlement of Bahá'í pioneers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, attracted a few Black adherents. Our narrative, so far, omitted the mention of the fourth Black to have declared in Canada, a Mr. Ralph Laltoo, a student from Trinidad, and son of a United Church Minister. He had come to Halifax and was among the first to enroll in the Faith in that city, in October 1940, (BN March 1941:7) after its having been opened by Mrs. Beulah Proctor in the previous year (Williams, 1985). Little is known of Mr. Laltoo, except that he introduced the Faith to a number of other students (Williams, 1985:4). Significantly, Halifax attracted a Black pioneer, Mrs. Rose Shaw, from San Francisco, in her seventies, 1943-44, to strengthen the work in that city which had the highest concentration of Blacks in Canada at that time. She became the first Black member of the Halifax Spiritual Assembly (Williams, 1985: 10) and chose to live in the black slum area of the city, where she stayed for about a year.[14] Before she moved into the slum area, she spent some time living with a Bahá'í couple of whom the wife relates the following incident:

              We had Rosa Shaw come up from the States and she was going to stay with a coloured family and they didn't have room for her at the time. So my husband said, "Oh, she can come and sleep on our couch." He said, "Everybody else does." And everybody said, "Well we really couldn't take her because she coloured you know. People talk around." Fred said, "Well, let them talk. You're a Bahá'í." He said, "She'll come and stay with us." So we had the Collector of Customs down below and we had the American Custom Agency across the way and my husband used to proudly take her out for a walk and nobody said a thing. (Wade, 1990: 31)

       In any event, in 1946, Rita (Elaine) and Ernest Marshall of the Leeward and Windward Islands declared in Halifax. Rita declared on 19 June and Ernest in November of that year.[15] According to Audrey Rayne, who herself declared as a Bahá'í youth in Nova Scotia in 1943, the couple attended every Bahá'í function. They are described as a "well-off" Black family who managed to put all their children through University; the daughter became a dentist and the son, a doctor.[16] They were members of the local Spiritual Assembly of Halifax until 1959,[17] before Ernest retired, and the family moved to a Toronto suburb.

       One Bahá'í, Lloyd Gardner (Gardner, 1978), recalls another black pioneer that came to Halifax, Reginald Barrows. Apparently, he was still acting as a clergyman and was pastor of the Zion AME Church in Halifax. Lloyd is not quite sure even how it happened that he maintained this ecclesiastical post, but he thinks that some communication he had from the Guardian permitted him to carry on his ministry for a time. Lloyd states:

But he was a very confirmed believer in Bahá'u'lláh and he would preach direct sermons on the Faith. And he loved to have the Bahá'ís come and his role in that church; they were his flock and he was their leader. It was that kind of a relationship, he had no sense of being daring in doing this, he felt quite confident. But he would deliver addresses, straight Bahá'í talks related to scripture. And he loved to have the Bahá'ís come and he not only liked to have us come, but if he saw us in the audience he would ask us to come and sit behind him, behind the pulpit while he delivered his sermon. But there was no questioning his belief in the [Bahá'í] Faith.

       Another early Black believer in the Halifax area was Mr. Fred Lorne Izzard from Preston, Nova Scotia. He was a shipyard worker. He was taught the Bahá'í Faith by Bill Halfyard and enrolled in the Bahá'í Faith in August 1953.[18] He eventually moved to Bridgewater, south of Halifax.[19]

       Although the local Spiritual Assembly of Halifax never formed a committee to teach the Bahá'í Faith to Blacks, a lot of work was undertaken in the Black community.[20] To the discouragement of the Bahá'ís, there were no obvious or immediate results of this work until well into the 1960s when, for example, Paul and Sylvia Norton--a mixed couple-- lived in Beechville,a Black area outside of Halifax. Through their efforts, a Black family, the Carveries, entered the Bahá'í Faith.

       While the seeds of the Faith had been quietly sown in Montréal, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia where a small handful of Blacks had declared their allegiance to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, other parts of Canada still had not witnessed the entry of Black people. Some Bahá'í communities, such as Edmonton in Alberta, had attempted to acquaint blacks in that city with the Faith (Davies, 1949), though without apparent success. Even Ontario with a sizeable community of Blacks had to wait until the 1940s, before the first adherents of the black race entered the Faith. The very first of this group was Lucille Giscome. A native of North Bay, Ontario, Lucille "excelled in the secretarial and journalistic fields."(Don Carty, 1992). At the time of her enrollment in 1942 as the first Bahá'í in the Ottawa, she worked for the Dominion Bureau of Statistics and wrote articles for one of the local Ottawa papers. She had outspoken views which met with disapproval by various officials. She left for Toronto, and after unsuccessful attempts to find work as a journalist, travelled to England, after which she settled in Czechoslavakia. In that country she found new friends and work as a journalist, speaking fluent Czech. In later years she fell ill and wanted to return to Canada, but was refused entry on a legal technicality. She died in Czechoslovakia. Canada lost in her someone who was ahead of her time and far more knowledgeable than most of her companions, not many of whom were blacks. Lucille's sister-in-law, Icsolene Giscombe, desribes her as someone with a "passion for reading" which was "unmeasurable." (Don Carty, 1992).

       Inez Atheline Ifill-Hayes was another among the first to have declared herself a Bahá'í in Ontario. Through the account of Inez' daughter, Esther, and her wealth of archival materials, we are able to present a more in-depth picture of the early Toronto Bahá'ís.


       Inez Hayes was born in Barbados, West Indies, November 28, 1896. She journeyed to Canada in 1915 to join her mother, Mrs. Mary Ifill, who had moved to Canada and secured a living several years before. The young Inez spent her girlhood years growing up in Toronto and met and married her husband, Nathaniel Hayes, in that city. Mr. Hayes was also a West Indian. Born in Grenada, he left his homeland to take up work on the building of the Panama Canal. When his work term ended, he headed north to Canada and worked in the Nova Scotia mines for a time. He, then, moved on to Toronto. Nathaniel and Inez had a family of five children, Esther, Eleanor, Roland, Wilfred, and Harold.

       When Inez visited the Anglican Church with the purpose of joining, the church would not accept her. So, she took her children down the road to the Beverley Baptish Church. Inez raised her children in the Baptish Church. Her religious path of discovery continued, however. In the course of her work as a domestic, Inez answered an add to do homemaking for a young couple with four children. Here, in the words of her employer, is the story of that meeting:

The doorbell rang and Audrey [my wife] went and was a little surprised but thrilled to see a smiling, attractive-looking black person standing there; but before coming in she looked at Audrey and said, `You wouldn't object to my colour, would you?' Audrey really wanted to welcome her with open arms.[21]
Of the applicants who came to apply for the part-time job of housekeeping, Inez was the unanimous choice. The couple were Audrey Robarts and her husband, John, future Hand of the Cause of God. John wrote:
Inez brought something new in the way of a loving spirit, joy, and happiness to all of us, and I remember often leaving my office a little earlier on those Thursday afternoons and coming home and finding Inez ironing and Audrey sitting on the stool reading the words of Bahá'u'lláh from the Hidden Words. They went straight to Inez' hearts and how she loved them.[22] Inez loved the way the Robarts brought up their children. She would share her experiences of working at the Robarts house with her own children when she returned home from work. She did not know what religion the Robarts were. she thought they might be Jewish. Audrey sat with Inez at lunchtimes, which was something unheard of in those days. One day, Audrey did not eat; she explained to Inez that she was a Bahá'í and she was fasting. She invited Inez to come to a Bahá'í meeting and learn more about the Bahá'í Faith.
       Inez went to her first Bahá'í meeting in 1943 at Laura Davis' house in Rosedale, Toronto, one of the most prominent Bahá'ís. Inez did not want to go alone, so she took her daughter Esther with her. In those days black women did not go to Rosedale, an exclusive white neighbourhood, to visit, but rather to work as domestics. Laura's house was packed that night. There were many people from different places, but they were all white except for Inez and Esther Hayes. Dorothy Baker, a Bahá'í teacher greatly loved by the Bahá'ís was the speaker for the evening. From that night forward, both Inez and Esther considered themselves Bahá'ís. Inez formalled enrolled, but Esther carried her belief in her heart until many years later. According to Esther,
My mother didn't have a great deal of education, nor did she read as much as her children, but she had a sense about the Faith.[23]

       Inez deepened her belief through regular attendance at meetings and summer schools. She also had daily contact with many Bahá'í women. May Pallister, Doris Richardson, Ethel Priestly, and Laura Davis--all used to call Inez on a daily basis.

       Inez's becoming a Bahá'í did not adversely affect the rest of her family. She never forced her Faith on the children, but went about her activities in her own quiet way. Inez had always been a religious woman, and this dedication carried through in her devotion to the Bahá'í Faith.

       Inez spoke to all her black friends about the Faith, and to anyone else she could. Inez felt profoundly the lack of black people in the Bahá'í Faith. She would feel hurt when her black friends would ask her what was she was doing with these people. Nevertheless, Inez continually gave the news about the Faith to all her friends and anyone new she met.

       She was delighted to meet black Bahá'ís from the United States at summer schools, such as Rosa Lewis and Laura Jackson. Once Elsie Austin and her mother came up from the United States to a summer school at Rice Lake, and Inez and Esther were so pleased to meet them. Esther Hayes said when her mother met another black person, "she just took onto them!"

       Inez taught many people the Faith and a few became Bahá'ís during her lifetime. Sarah Downes (d. 12 June 1960), Inez' close girlhood friend, learned of the Faith through Inez and became a Bahá'í in 1945. Sarah was foster mother to Lincoln Alexander who later became Canada's first Black to sit in the House of Commons and the first black Lieutenant-Governor. Her other son, Ray Downes, although never declaring his Faith, was an active participant at Bahá'í meetings, and while studying classical music abroad, was a supporter of the Bahá'í Fund in Britain. Ray became a Jazz musician and often plays with the Peter Appleyard Quartet.

       John Hayes, cousin to Nathaniel Hayes and long-time friend of Lincoln Alexander's father and boarder with the Downes family, also become a Bahá'í through Inez. John was a porter with CN and travelled continually; he did not have the chance to attend Bahá'í meetings or summer schools. His acceptance of the Bahá'í Faith was based on a strong foundation of personal study, and commitment to the understanding of the truth of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings to which he gave testimony in his diary on the day of the declaration of the Báb, 23 May, 1945, asking God to "help him to remain steadfast for the rest of his life."[24]

       Another person who was connected to the Downes/Alexander family and became a Bahá'í, was Miss Ferne C. Harrison, a sister of Mr. Lincoln Alexander's wife. She lived in Hamilton and became a Bahá'í on 7 October 1945.[25] She had a talent for singing and often graced Bahá'í meetings and events with her voice. Inez and Esther met Ferne occasionally at summer schools and conventions. She later resigned from the Bahá'í Faith.

       Inez always kept her home open to travellers and "seekers." She gave a warm reception to anyone travelling through Toronto, and held many firesides with guest speakers. When Inez moved to Thornhill Avenue in York, she invited all the people in the neighbourhood to an open house. The neighbours (who were all white) went to the minister of their church to discuss whether they should go or not. No one came. Several years later, after a large racially-diverse gathering in Inez' home, a neighbour remarked to Inez, " Well, I must say your family has lived up to our expections!" According to Esther, these comments and attitudes never held Inez back. "She had a big heart and plenty of love in it for everyone." She kept up a large correspondence with friends who were interested in the Faith, and encouraged those who weren't.

       Another area of service in Inez' life, was her work for the administrative institutions of the Bahá'í Faith. Inez, who had never served on a committee in her life, was elected to the local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Toronto in 1948; she also served in later years on the local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of York (a suburb of Toronto).

       In 1957, Inez went back to Barbados to visit her family and to tell her friends about the Bahá'í Faith. There were no Bahá'ís in Barbados when Inez set off on her teaching trip, but several weeks after her arrival she received a letter from the Western Hemisphere Teaching Committee in the United States. This letter informed Inez that weeks prior to Inez' arrival a gentleman, Mr. Winfield Small, had pioneered to Barbados from Bahamas. Inez' path did not cross Mr. Small's but she saved that letter for years after, probably as a memento of her precious times and memories in her homeland. Inez also travelled to Grenada to visit her relations there.

       After her return from Barbados, she wrote many letters to friends answering questions about the Faith. Every year, Inez would send a Christian calendar with a personal message and a Bahá'í pamphlet to the acquaintances and friends she had met. Her daughter has kept up this tradition to this day, 31 years later.

       Inez also took a trip to visit her dear friend Doris Richardson in Grand Manan, and travel taught there. It is perhaps important to know that Inez' style of teaching was to just talk to everybody. When she got on a bus she would talk to her fellow passengers and to the bus driver, too. Doris wrote to Inez' family, "everyone was attracted to Inez--she took the island by storm."[26]

       Inez' services were many and she is remembered by so many people. After her passing at the age of 77, on 20 October. 1974, many testimonials were written about Inez' unique character. Older Bahá'ís who had served the Faith for many years said that Inez inspired and given them the courage to carry on with their work. Inez was described as "a spiritual Rock of Gibraltar with a rich sense of humour."(Rowan, 1974) She was very active socially in the black community of Toronto. Her steadfastness and sublime faith in God was an inspiration to many. She had "great common-sense and a down-to-earth appreciation of human suffering, having suffered much herself." (Rowan, 1974) The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada praised Inez untiring service to humanity.[27]

       The story[28] of Esther P. Hayes, Inez' daughter, provides a keen insight into the circumstances of the earlier black adherents of the Bahá'í Faith in Canada. Esther was born in Toronto in 1922. She grew up with her sister and three brothers in the Toronto area. Raised in the Baptist Church, she began in her early teens a life-long commitment to fight racism. Esther is a quiet and reserved person. Her creative ability expresses itself through inventive ideas and her strength of mind shows in her determination and perseverance to carry these ideas through, no matter what. Esther was a founding member of the Negro Youth Council, and an active member of other black organizations. Esther has found many ways to support and help the black community.

       In 1943, when Esther was 21, we have already seen that she accompanied her mother to a Bahá'í meeting. The speaker, Dorothy Baker, affected her deeply. Her talk was about the meaning of creation. Esther said she pictured that the mother of Christ would be "like Dorothy Baker." From that night onward she carried the belief in her heart that, "this message of Bahá'u'lláh was God's will for the world." Esther felt that, "I didn't need to join the Bahá'í Faith--it already included me,--it included everyone!"

       Esther began to attend Bahá'í meetings regularly, and read the literature about the Faith. She said, "it was good being with people that accepted you, had no objections to you, and were relaxed with you." The Bahá'ís were interested in black history. Some of them, however, had never had any contact with blacks before. The Hayes realized that, "many were ignorant of other races, and asked embarrassing and often rude questions." Esther described this attitudes as an "ignorance born out of innocence."

       Esther's mother, Inez, never discussed the Faith with her when she was younger, but left books for Esther to read if she wished. Mother and daughter would attend meetings, summer schools, and Bahá'í social events together. One day, Laura Davis gave The Promised Day Is Come (by Shoghi Effendi) to Inez as she thought Esther would be interested reading it. After reading that book, Esther decided it was necessary that she formally join the Bahá'í Faith. Eight years after her initial contact with the Bahá'ís, she wrote a letter to the local Spiritual Assembly of Toronto saying she wished to enroll.

       "In those days," Esther said, "you had to write a letter of intent to the local Spiritual Assembly, stating you believed in the Central Figures of the Faith [the Báb, Bahá`u`lláh, and `Abdu`l-Bahá] and that you had read Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era [by John Esslemont], and the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá." When Esther met the committee of the Assembly, they talked with her and then asked her to step out into the hall while they discussed her acceptance. Esther said she knew that whether they accepted her or not, she was a Bahá'í--the Bahá'í Faith belonged to everyone. "Why be formal about it," Esther thought, "they couldn't keep me out, so why bring me in? It was my right." The Bahá'ís welcomed Esther into the community.

       Esther helped her mother with the firesides and meetings held at their house, and also took on new avenues of service. She became known for her devotion, reliability, efficiency, and attention to detail. Because of these attributes, she was asked to serve on many committees in the Bahá'í administration, such as the Regional Teaching Committee, the Icelandic Conference Committee (1971), the Ontario Youth Committee, the Community Counselling Committee, and others. Esther also served on the local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of York. She worked at the Bahá'í National Centre in Toronto for eight years, the job she enjoyed most in her life.

       Esther has always loved children and was asked in 1959 to teach Bahá'í children's classes. She performed this service for two years with great enjoyment. In those days people had to make up their own curriculum. Esther said she enjoyed many hours of preparation of material for the classes as well as teaching the children themselves.

       In those early days, Esther and her mother were the only black Bahá'ís in Ontario, and therefore contact with other black Bahá'ís, such as Violet Grant of Montréal, were greatly valued. Esther met Violet, who later married Mr. States, at Geneva Park [where?] summer school in 1953. Esther and Violet became firm friends and although they could not see each other often because Violet lived in Montréal, and Esther in Toronto, they kept in constant touch through letters and phone calls.

       One of the examples of Esther's ability to combine her dedication to serve and support the black community with her desire to spread the message of Bahá'u'lláh, was the production of the Negro Directory, which she founded in 1965. The Directory was a brochure listing businesses and services offered by the black community in Canada. It also included educational articles of interest and assistance, particularly to black people. Aside from these articles, Esther would include one page devoted to the principles and teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. The Directory was financed by Esther, and the Hayes family helped out with the production. Eleanor, Esther's sister, collated the information, Esther edited and typed, and brother Harold and her mother helped to copy it with the aid of an old non-electric Gestetner machine. This booklet was produced for 18 years as a service to the black community.

       When Bahá'ís are asked to describe Esther's character, the description they give is of a person who is "compassionate, determined, thoughtful, committed, and dedicated" and one who "is a survivor through thick and thin." Esther is still very active in her service to the Bahá'í Faith, and the black community, as well. She recently sent 100 copies of The Promise of Peace, a message prepared by the international governing board of the Bahá'í Faith, the Universal House of Justice, to her friends, and continues to serve on the local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of York.

       Esther reached out to the local black community where she met Mr. Donald Carty at one of the black organizations. Don, a nineteen-year old youth, was becoming disillusioned with the black associations as they "did not provide healing answers." He was a man very concerned with the social and racial problems of the day, and was doing what he could for his community through involvement with the scouting movement, music, and the Y.M.C.A. Esther told him about the transforming power of the Bahá'í Faith. Don began to attend meetings and he declared in belief on 11 June 1955.[29] Don Carty belonged to the Anglican Church at that time and was, in fact, being prepared to become a lay preacher. When the minister heard that Don was investigating the Bahá'í teachings, he warned the congregation to stay away from him. A special service was even set up for Don, on the subject of the Anti-Christ (Carty, 1990); his volunteer services for the Cubs in the Church's basement were no longer needed.

       The reaction of the black community was no less difficult:

The feeling I [i.e. Don] got from the black community was of non-commital acceptance of inter-racial associations or involvement, and of course if you are going with a white girl or vice versa, it was always a topical thing. I became known [within the black community] as "Don the Bahá'í." I found [my involvement] quite often evoked conversations, and the determination to convince me that I was on the wrong path. I would emphatically point out to them that there were lots of points of difference, but, "let's dwell on our similarities." (Carty, 1990)
       Don remembers Esther's gentle persuasion and support over the years, as she taught him about the Bahá'í Faith. In his words, he "embraced what Esther had told [him] with a curiosity and with an intense suspicion, because [he] had identified with groups who came on very beautifully, but after awhile the realities began to dilute the illusion" (Carty, 1990). Behavior, not words, was the keystone to his accepting the Bahá'í Faith:
The real turning point came when I was out to a function and a young woman whom I had known by sights and a grand hello and how are you, said, "I have something to do, will you hold my purse for a minute?" I thought she would be gone for a minute or so, but there I was tagging this purse around an hour later! I thought, not only was there the open show of affection, it was supported with trust. More than just words it was manifested in conduct. And I thought, yes, I think I would like to be a part of these people (Carty, 1990).
       Don's brother, Clyde, became a Bahá'í in Scarborough, near Toronto, on 21 April 1965.[30]

       The gradual attraction of Blacks to the Bahá'í Faith was slow. However, any new adherents themselves became the center of service and activity in the Bahá'í community. No area of service was closed, whether of an administrative, social, or teaching nature.

       In recent decades the Bahá'í community has given serious attention to focussing the teaching work on the Black community. Nowhere is this more evident than in Eastern Canada. In Saint John, New Brunswick, the site of the first church to open its doors to the Faith, the Bahá'í community regularly held children's classes where attendance of non-Bahá'í Black children was a very happy common occurrence. The Bahá'í Community of Saint John established very close and intimate connections with both prominent and other Blacks of the city.

       The other major center for this work was Nova Scotia, which has a total Black population of 60,000. Much of the enthusiasm in the teaching field was generated through teaching the Black community. A good number enrolled. However, the teaching work was not only confined to the city. Certain towns and very isolated spots in the province, known for their concentration of Blacks, saw Bahá'í teachers. In particular, Guysboro District[31] in eastern Nova Scotia, which can be reached only by tertiary roads, has the unique position of being the first--and only-- all-Black local Spiritual Assembly in Canada, elected for the first time in 1977.[32]

       The Canadian black rose defies the tiles laid out by dominant society. Not only is the Canadian "mosaic" arranged vertically (Porter, 1965), but it speaks only to those ethnic communities which conform to a particular pattern of organization and culture. The cracks in the mosaic show that despite attempts to favor only particular ethnic communities, the ethnic reality of Canada may be giving way to an ethnic "garden." The Black community are the strong and resilient flowers who despite the wide open opportunities favoured to others and denied to themselves, have laboured to push on and up, and have become increasingly recognized for their contributions to the rest of the garden--the Canadian cultural heritage and society. In such a garden, all cultures can flourish and add to each others' attractiveness, and contribute to the whole.


       Anderson (1987). Letter from Ted Anderson, Red Deer, Alberta, to W.C. van den Hoonaard, 4 October 1987.
      ---- (1993). Letter from Ted Anderson, Red Deer, Alberta, to National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada, 24 August 1993.
      Bahá'í News. National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada (1924-1948). Abbr. as "BN."
      The Bahá'í World: A Biennial International Record (1945) Vol. 9
      (1940-1944). Comp. by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada. Wilmette, Ill. Bahá'í Publishing Committee.
      Bertley, Leo W. (1977) Canada and its People of African Descent. Montreal: Bilongo.
      Braithwaite, D., ed. (1944) The Council Drum. Newsletter of the Joint Council of Negro Youth. Toronto.
      Braithwaite, Rella (1976) The Black Woman in Canada. Toronto: O.I.S.E.
      Campbell, Douglas F., ed. (1978) Banked Fires: The Ethnics of Nova Scotia. Port Credit, Ontario: Scribbler's Press.
      Canadian Bahá' News. National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada. 1948 - . Abbr. as "CBN."
      Canadian Citizenship Branch (1960) Notes on the Canadian Family Tree. Ottawa: Department of Citizenship and Immigration.
      Carty, Don (1990) Interviews by Lynn Echevarria-Howe.
      Carty, Don (1992) Letter to Lynn Echevarria-Howe, 17 February, Ottawa.
      Census Canada (1987) The Daily. Table 1: 3.
      Clairmont, D.H. and Fred Wien (1978) "Blacks and Whites: The Nova        Scotia Race Relations Experience," pp. 141-182 in Campbell (1978).
      Davies, Milwyn Adams (1949) "A Brief History of the Edmonton Bahá'í Community" 4 pp. mimeo. (July)
      De Mille, Amine (1962) "`Abdu'l-Bahá in Canada," pp. 55-57 in
      National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada, `Abdu'l-Bahá in Canada. Forest, Ont.: Forest Free Press.
      Estall, Rowland (1977) "Melodies of the Kingdom: The Memoirs of
      Rowland Estall." Mimeo 125 pp.
      Ferguson, Bob (1977) Who's Who in Canadian Sport. Scarborough,
      Ont.: Prentice-Hall.
      Flournoy, Raymond (1988) Letter to W.C. van den Hoonaard, dated 13 November, Montréal.
      Gardner, Lloyd (1978) Interview with Lloyd Gardner, Oshawa, Ontario by Joanie Anderson, June 18.
      Gordon, Rena-Millie (1990) Interview by W.C. van den Hoonaard.        Toronto. 18 July.
      Greaves, Ida (1930) The Negro in Canada. Montreal: McGill University, Department of Political and Economic Studies.
      Hamilton, Sylvia (1982) "Our Mothers Grand and Great: Black Women        in Nova Scotia." Canadian Women's Studies. 4 (2): 32-37.
      Hayes, Esther. (1988, 1989) Interview by Lynn Echevarria-Howe.        Toronto. December 1988 to March 1989. 7pp.
      Henry, K. (1981) Black Politics in Toronto since World War I. Toronto: The Multicultural History Society of Ontario.
      Irwin, Lilly Ann (1982) Interview by Carrie Jensen. Penticton,        B.C. 6 October.
      Isajiw, Wsevolod W. (1974) "Definitions of Ethnicity." Ethnicity. 1, 1 : 5-17.
      Israel, Wilfred E. (1928) "The Montreal Negro Community." Unpubl.        M.A. thesis. Montreal. McGill University, Department of Sociology. September.
      Kenosha Records, National Bahá'í Archives, Wilmette, Ill.
      Laferrière, Michel (1982) "Blacks in Québec: Minorities among
      Minorities." in Cora B. Marrett and Cheryl Leggon, eds. Research in Race and Ethnic Relations: A Research Annual, Vol. 3. Greenwich, Conn.: Jai Press: 3-27.
      Lightman, S. (1948) The Negro Community in Toronto. Unpubl. Research Paper. Toronto: University of Toronto, Department of Sociology.
      Lunt, Alfred E., Papers, (1916) National Bahá'í Archives, Wilmette, Ill. Box. 27, Folder 20.
      Mahmoud (n.d.) "Mahmoud's Diary." Zia Baghdadi, transl. Copy available in Green Acre Bahá'í School Library, Eliot, Maine.
      Montréal (1925) Membership List, Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Montréal, 24 April 1925.
      Montreal Council of Social Agencies (1928) Welfare Work in Montreal in 1928. Montreal. Montreal Star. (1953). 11 July: 8.
      Morisson, Gayle (1982) To Move the World: Louis G. Gregory and
      the Advancement of Racial Unity in America. Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá'í Publishing Trust.
      Morrison, James H. (1987) "Portrayal of Black History." The Atlantic Provinces Book Review. Febr.-March, 14, 1.
      O'Neil, Linda (1975) "A Short History of the Bahá'í Faith in
      Canada, 1898-1975." Mimeo. 44 pp.
      Porter, John (1965) The Vertical Mosaic. Toronto: University of
      Toronto Press.
      Rowan, Elizabeth (1974) "Testimonial to Inez Hayes: A Portrait of Inez Hayes," Dec.
      Thompson, Colin A.        (1986) Born With A Call: A Biography of Dr.
      William Pearly Oliver, C.M. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia.
      Victoria Bedikian Papers, National Bahá'í Archives, Wilmmette,        Ill.
      Wade, Dorothy (1990) Interview by W.C. van den Hoonaard, White Rock, B.C. 16 July.
      Williams, Paula (1985) "Candles of Guidance: The History of the Early Halifax Bahá'í Community." Unpubl. 37 pp.
      Winks, Robin W. (1969) "The Canadian Negro: A Historical        Assessment, Part II: The Problem of Identity." The Journal of Negro History. 54, 1 (Jan): 1-15.
      ----(1978) "The Black Tile in the Mosaic." pp. 356-371 in Daniel Glenday et al, eds., Modernization and the Canadian State. Toronto: Macmillan.


List of Early Canadian Black Bahá'ís, 1929-1960s

    Enrollment/Name               Place       Decl.Date      Occupation
    1.  Mr. Eddie Elliott         Montreal    Nov.1921       Electrician
    2.  Mrs. Dora Bray            Dawson      1922           Teacher      
    3.  Mr. Ralph Laltoo          Halifax     20 Oct. 1940   Student      
    4.  Miss Lucille Giscome      Ottawa      1942           Journalist       
    5.  Mrs. Inez Ifill-Hayes     Toronto     1943           Domestic
    6.  Miss Esther Hayes         Toronto     1943*          Secretary
    7.  Mrs.  Sarah Downes        Toronto     1945 
    8.  Mr. John Hayes            Toronto     23 May 1945    Porter
    9.  Miss Ferne C. Harrison    Hamilton    7 Oct. 1945
    10  Mrs. Rita(Elaine)Marshall Halifax     19 June 1946  
    11. Mr. Ernest Marshall       Halifax     Nov. 1946      Printer/Taxidriver
    12. Mr. Fred Lorne Izzard     Halifax     7 Aug. 1953    Shipyard worker
    13. Mr. Donald Carty          Toronto     11 June 1955   Postman
    14. Mr. Raymond Flournoy      Montreal    9 Jan. 1962    Interior Architect
    15. Mrs. Violet Grant States  Verdun      8 Jan. 1963
    16. Mr. Clyde Carty           Toronto     21 April 1965
    * formally enrolled on 6 April 1951
          [1] The term "old line families" cited by Henry (1981) is one Daniel Hill (1960) uses in "Negroes in Toronto."
          [2] Reportdedly, a black couple attended the first reception at the Maxwell home held in honour of `Abdu'l-Bahá, on the evening of August 30th, 1912. Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Eddington, who "played such an active part in securing the most outstanding newspaper publicity of 'Abd'ul-Bahá's visit to America...," were assumed to have been the first black believers in Canada (De Mille, 1962: 56). However, in a recent interview with one of Canada's earliest believers, Mr. Rowland Estall, by W.C. van den Hoonaard, Febr. 1992, in Toronto, it came to light that the Eddingtons were not black.
          [3] There is some question as to what organization May Maxwell belonged to. The Coloured Women's Club, started in 1902, was limited to 15 members and served purely recreational and artistic purposes. Between 1914-18, one also found the Coloured Women's Charitable and Benevolent Association. There were about half a dozen other organizations in Montreal (Israel, 1928: 199-218). Braithwaite (1976: 59) contains a more detailed description of the Coloured Women's Club of Montreal which would lead one to believe that it is this organization of which May Maxwell was the honorary president.
          [4] Rev. Este led the congregation from 1925 to 1968. (Bertley, 1977: 165).
          [5] This particular event must have occurred around 1929, for the believer's account started in 1926 and the event was reported to have happened "some years later" (Estall, 1977: 32). This activity may well have been cojoined with the work of the Interracial Amity Committee which had a successful local meeting in Montréal in the Bahá'í year ending in March 1930.
          [6] Eddie Elliot was not a member of the Montreal Branch of the International Union of Electrical Workers. His obituary appears in [Canadian] Bahá'í News, No. 45 (Oct. 1953): 4.
          [7] By 1930, McGill's Faculty of Medicine had 6 or 7 black students, and become a focal point in the medical education of many West Indian doctors.(Greaves, 1930: 69)
          [8] Bahá'í Registration Card, Bahá'í National Center, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, 28 Febr. 1989.
          [9] According to BHRC, Mrs. Bray would have been 102 years old in 1971, not 105. Born on 30 May 1869 in Lexington, Kentucky, she was apparently a dual national (English and Indian). In 1923 she married Mr. Gulliford, but became a widow in 1935, when she settled in Seattle. Mrs. Bray last resided in Pasadena, California (Anderson, 1987).
          [10] Letter from Jean E. Nixon, Saint John, to Kenosha Bahá'í Assembly, Wisc., 7 April 1924, Kenosha Records, National Bahá'í Archives, Wilmette, Ill., Box 5, Folder 52.
          [11] K. Henry in Black Politics in Toronto since World War I (1981) makes mention of a Jamaican clergyman in Nova Scotia, Rev. Cecil A. Stewart, an activist with a "vision and vigor" (Henry, 1981: 5), moving later to Toronto. We must presume that this is the same pastor who had invited the Bahá'ís to speak to his congregation in Saint John.
          [12] Letter from Jean E. Nixon, Saint John, to Kenosha Bahá'í Assembly, Wisc., 7 April 1924, Kenosha Records, National Bahá'í Archives, Wilmette, Ill., Box 5, Folder 52.
          [13] Letter from Jean E. Nixon, Saint John, N.B., 13 Jan. 1924 to Victoria Bedikian, Victoria Bedikian Papers, National Bahá'í Archives, Wilmette, Ill.
          [14] Audrey Rayne, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, telephone conversation with W.C. van den Hoonaard, Fredericton, 19 Feb. 1989.
          [15] Bahá'í Registration Card, Bahá'í National Center, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, 28 Febr. 1989.
          [16] Interview by Will. C. van den Hoonaard with Ken Bolton of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 27 October 1990.
          [17] Bahá'í Registration Card, Bahá'í National Center, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, 28 Febr. 1989.
          [18] Bahá'í Registration Card, Bahá'í National Center, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, 28 Febr. 1989. Williams (1985:20) states he declared in July 1946.
          [19] Audrey Rayne, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, telephone conversation with W.C. van den Hoonaard, Fredericton, 19 Feb. 1989.
          [20] Audrey Rayne, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, telephone conversation with W.C. van den Hoonaard, Fredericton, 19 Feb. 1989.
          [21] Interview with Audrey Robarts, Rawdon, Québec, by Lynn Howe, 1990.
          [22] Letter from John Robarts to Esther Hayes and her family, 25 Oct. 1971 (in possession of Esther Hayes)
          [23] Interview with Esther Hayes, Toronto, by Lynn Echevarria-Howe, Dec. 1988.
          [24] Interview with Esther Hayes, Toronto, by Lynn Echevarria-Howe, Dec. 1988.
          [25] Bahá'í Registration Card, Bahá'í National Center, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, 28 Febr. 1989.
          [26] Letter from the Doris Richardson to Esther Hayes, 7 Sept. 1966 (in possession of Esther Hayes).
          [27] Letter to Esther Hayes from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada, Nov. 1974.
          [28] The information is derived from telephone interviews with Don Carty by Lynn Echevarria-Howe, Toronto, Dec. 1988, and March 1989.
          [29] Bahá'í Registration Card, Bahá'í National Center, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, 28 Febr. 1989.
          [30] Bahá'í Registration Card, Bahá'í National Center, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, 28 Febr. 1989.
          [31] Guysboro was the end of the "underground railroad."
          [32] A good account of the Black Community in the historical and contemporary context in Nova Scotia is Thompson's (1986) work.
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