Grave marker for Corinthea (nee Pierre) Alexander and daughter Eva
Conversation with Crawford Killian, author “Go Do Some Great Thing”
Crawford Kilian shares his experiences in writing the 1st edition, published in 1978 and what compelled him to publish the 2nd edition in 2008. Update: the 3rd edition was published in 2020 by Harbour Publishing. This book, and all its editions “describes the hardships and triumphs of BC’s first Black citizens and their legacy in the province today“.
A Tribute to Black Music
Louise Rose, the Victoria High School R&B Band, blues artist Eric Dozier and Moon Dance, an African dance group. Three choirs also performed; One Human Family Gospel Choir, Victoria Good News Choir and the Victoria Children’s Choir. Hosted and sponsored by BC Black History Awareness Society at the University of Victoria Farquhar Auditorium. February 14, 2010.
Grave marker for Peter and Nancy Lester
Nancy and Peter Lester, with their two sons and one daughter joined the migration to Vancouver Island in 1858. They were both respected and active community members. In 1890 they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Nancy passed away on February 10,1892. Peter Lester was a business man, invested in real-estate, well known and respected by everyone who met him; but after Nancy’s death he returned to the US; we have found no records of his death.
A similar grave marker was erected many years previous for Rebecca Gibbs by the Victoria Black Peoples Society (a forerunner of BCBHAS), in partnership with the Old Cemeteries Society. Rebecca is considered one of Canada’s first Black female poets; she spent most of her life here in Barkerville. The reverse side of her grave marker cites her most famous poem “The Old Red Shirt” . This is Rebecca’s story.
Plaque unveiling “Black Pioneers in BC”
The Historic Sites and Monuments Board plaque (designation date: 1997-09-22) commemorating the arrival of the Black settlers in 1858 as “an event of national historic significance” is located at the Central Saanich United Church, 7180 East Saanich Road, Vancouver Island, formerly The Shady Creek Church. Society and church members, families and friends gathered for the plaque unveiling ceremony at the church on February 20, 2000.
BLACK PIONEERS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
In 1858, nearly 800 free Blacks left the oppressive racial conditions of San Francisco for a new life on Vancouver Island. Governor James Douglas had invited them here as promising settlers. Though still faced with intense discrimination, these pioneers enriched the political, religious and economic life of the colony. For example, Mifflin Gibbs became a prominent politician; Charles and Nancy Alexander initiated the Shady Creek Methodist Church; John Deas established a salmon cannery; and the group formed one of the earliest colonial militia units, the Victoria Pioneer Rifle Corps.