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When the Canadian League for the Advancement of Colored People met for the first time at London’s Aeolian Hall in 1927, the hopeful event committed to advocating against the economic disadvantages faced by young people, specifically joblessness. Nearly 100 years later, unemployment among black people in Canada is nearly 7% higher than the national average. The Aeolian, in collaboration with the W.E.A.N. Community Centre and community partners such as the London Black History Coordinating Committee, the Congress of Black Women of Canada (London Chapter) and the Urban League, will revisit the 1927 event and the manifesto that was published as a result of that convention. With an aim to meet annually, this new project will serve to measure the progress toward equity and inclusion of the black community in London.
“The Aeolian is thrilled to collaborate on this historic event. The directives from the 1927 CLACP Convention at The Aeolian are alarmingly similar to the work that needs to be done now for equity and inclusion. We are committed to supporting this work, while celebrating Black culture and history.” – Clark Bryan, Executive & Artistic Director, Aeolian Hall
Like the original League convention, the event titled “Black Love” to be held at the Aeolian Hall of May 22, 2022 will include a meeting of the black community and its allies, dinner and a music performance. The Aeolian is proud to welcome the Jason Max Ferdinand Singers from Huntsville, Alabama. The choir, a dream for the two-time Grammy nominated songwriter and conductor, was formed after the Congressional riots of January 6 2021 to ensure that optimism has a place in speaking out against societal challenges. Much like the League in 1927, the choir is determined to not be bystanders and to let their creative voices be heard.
“As much as our history has been associated with struggle, slavery and suffering, it is of extreme importance that we acknowledge the fact that Black Excellence has always existed, and in fact, pre-dates the historical struggle associated with our people. This event would serve as a reminder to some, and as a lesson to others, that Black people have been here, and are as worthy of equality and respect as anyone else. There is nothing new under the sun, but we need to truly know our past, so that our children can know their future.” – Maya Mark, VP of the Congress of Black Women London Chapter
“In 1927 the advancement of color People was more than an event, but a movement to advance equal opportunity and equal access to well-being spiritual health and personal economic prosperity, in all levels of society for black people and we must keep the movement alive!” – Pastor Thomas, W.E.A.N. Community Centre
“The first Convention of the Gathering of Black folk in London from across this land on October 10th 1927 was not only an historic event for the Black community but for all of London. To see men and women from our community setting the foundation for the work which was to come and continues to this day is inspiring. Replicating this event in 2022 is important, to demonstrate to the Black community and others that we have come a long way but still have a long way to go and much to achieve.” – Carl Cadogan, Chair, London Black History Coordinating Committee.
“The history of the Canadian League for the Advancement of Colored People gave me hope and determination. The purpose of the struggle from 95 years ago is still haunting us today, it must CHANGE”. – Francis J Hinnah, Sr. MPA WORK: Records Management Coordinator, County of Huron/Local Government Administration
In keeping with the original 1927 event, when guests attended in the latest Parisian fashions, patrons are welcome to celebrate in period attire, business casual or formal wear at their discretion.
Jason Max Ferdinand Singershttps://www.jasonmaxferdinandsingers.com
“The Jason Max Ferdinand Singers has been birthed and the ensemble will now begin its unifying journey. It is with gratitude and humility that I bring to you these talented singers who breathe life into the works of outstanding composers, as we all move forward in our lives and times.”
– Jason Max Ferdinand, Director, Jason Max Ferdinand Singers.
The “Jason Max Ferdinand Singers” is a project that I have thought about since 2001. I had the sound of the ensemble in my head, and had plans to make a debut the summer of 2020, but COVID19 forced a hiatus. In January of 2021, a creative opportunity was asked of me, and after some hesitation and contemplation, I decided to take a dive into the deep, feeling I would be a dupe not to heed the signs!
Then, January 6, 2021 happened; what a day in the history of America. A bevy of emotions were surging through my being; however, optimism was leading the way. I felt strongly, “we will get through this,” and one thing I was very sure about…this newly formed ensemble would have a voice in speaking to some of these societal deformities. I felt determined to not be a bystander and to let my creative voice be heard!
Admittedly, I was excited and a tad nervous. It would take some doing and we would have to put forth a great deal of effort. I was awake late into the night wondering about this and that, when a calm came over me and my thoughts pointed to, “things will all work out.” Excitement was ramping up as “Live from London” started promoting the festival, the singers were committed and rehearsals were moving forward, and our repertoire was absolutely “on fire!” I knew this was our moment.
The “Jason Max Ferdinand Singers” has been birthed and the ensemble will now begin its unifying journey. It is with gratitude and humility that I bring to you these talented singers who breathe life into the works of outstanding composers, as we all move forward in our lives and times.
1927 Convention of the Canadian League for the Advancement of Colored Peopledigitalcollections.nypl.org/collections/first-convention-of-the-canadian-league-for-the-advancement-of-colored-people#/?tab=about
The occasion was the first-ever convention of the Canadian League for the Advancement of Colored People bringing people together from Toronto, Windsor and the United States.
The event attracted several hundred people from all backgrounds. They discussed a variety of topics over the course of the day, including “race prejudice” and unemployment of black youth.
In his speech, the league’s president J.W. Montgomery outlined the number of jobs that had been lost over the course of two decades within the Black community.
Three resolutions were passed that day in 1927, which provide a picture of the goals and hopes people had for the future. As published in the pamphlet prepared after the convention, the resolutions are:
– That we do all within our power to banish petty prejudice which bars success from ambitious and deserving colored youths.
– That we prepare our boys and girls to fill any and all positions within the gift of our country.
– That we seek with the assistance of fair minded white citizens to find places for members of our race after they have prepared themselves.
WEAN Community Centreweancommunitycentre.com
The WEAN Community was established to serve all members of the community with a focus to support and empower the black community through access to well-being, belonging, spiritual health and personal economic prosperity. It is home to London’s first Black Library.
London Black History Coordinating Committeelbhcc.ca
The goal of the London Black History Coordinating Committee is to engage the community in celebrating Black History Month through organizing, supporting, and collaborating with community organizations on programs and activities that are available in the region to educate, inform and uplift.
Congress of Black Women of Canada (London Chapter)https://london.cbwc-ontario.org
The London chapter was established in 1989. The objectives of the London Chapter are to address the social, economic and cultural issues and needs of all Black women. We welcome all Black women sixteen years of age and older for individual membership. The chapter maintains membership in ACFOLA, African Canadian Federation of London and Area, and Pillar Non-Profit network. Members of the London chapter organize and participate in educational activities including lectures, seminars, and various fundraising ventures that support its programs.
We believe that engaged and informed Londoners are the building blocks of a vital, successful, and sustainable city. We believe that strong and connected communities are critical to bringing them together. Building these connections and advocating for our members is what we do. It’s what we’ve been doing for over 50 years.
The Urban League of London is an umbrella group whose members include a number of neighbourhood associations and community groups working to improve and connect our City. Individuals with an interest in urban or civic matters may also become individual members of the League.
Pride London Festivalwww.pridelondon.ca
To provide an annual opportunity to generate celebratory, cultural, artistic & educational events which affirm the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, two-spirited people & our allies through activities which promote unity, inclusion, & awareness of sexual & gender diversity.