Pointe-à-Callière presents

Lecture – Little Burgundy: From Black Colony to Vibrant 21st Century Neighbourhood

As part of Black History Month, Pointe-à-Callière invites you to watch a captivating talk on the history of the neighbourhood known today as “Little Burgundy.” Journey back to the early days of this district in southwest Montreal, which was once the beating heart of the city’s first Black community.

With their roots in slavery—which was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1834—, Black populations in Montreal developed and grew more diverse in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as newcomers settled in the city. Attracted by the growing railway industry, many of them were hired as porters. With slavery thereby giving way to a society in which racial segregation and persistent discrimination kept them marginalized, members of the Black, mainly anglophone community settled in Faubourg Saint-Antoine, which is now known as Little Burgundy. The community developed an identity and culture of its own, making Montreal of the 1920s a jazz mecca for world-renowned musicians.

Join the guest speaker for an in-depth examination of the evolving status and living conditions of the neighbourhood’s inhabitants, and learn how their contributions have furthered our city’s reach and reputation. Hear about their current struggle to preserve and raise awareness of their history, revealing a little-known chapter of Montreal’s past!

Lecturer: Dr. Dorothy Williams, historian, specializing in Black Canadian History

Dorothy Williams, Ph.D., has authored three books, and has contributed to other scholarly and academic publications. Her first book was Blacks in Montreal: 1628-1986 An Urban Demography, was written at the behest of the Quebec Human Rights Commission, in 1989, during their study of racism in Montreal’s housing market. Her second work published in 1997, The Road to Now: A History of Blacks in Montreal, remains the only chronological study of Blacks on the island of Montreal. Her most recent book in 1998, Les Noirs à Montréal, Essai de démographie urbaine, was a translation of Blacks in Montreal. While studying for her Ph.D., she contributed chapters on Black Canadian print culture, for two volumes of The History of the Book in Canada, (University of Toronto, 2005, 2007). Her thesis, “Sankofa: Recovering Montreal’s Heterogeneous Black Print Serials”, (McGill University, 2006) focused specifically on the range of Black print culture in Montreal. In addition, she has penned popular articles in magazines and newspapers.

Free, live on Facebook

Friday, February 18, 2022 at 12:00pm

You will also be able to watch the event after it has been broadcast in the video section of Pointe-à-Callière’s Facebook page!