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Images of Black History, Exploring the Alvin McCurdy Collection

Images of Black History, Exploring the Alvin McCurdy Collection

Alvin D. McCurdy was born in 1916 in Amherstburg, Essex County, Ontario, where he lived throughout his life. He worked professionally as a carpenter and was a long-time member of the Carpenters and Joiners Union, as well as a Freemason and active member of the Baptist church. In addition, McCurdy was involved with anti-discrimination groups such as the Amherstburg Community Club and the Amherstburg Progressive Association of Coloured People.

He was also an historian, genealogist, and collector of black history material. During his lifetime, he amassed dozens of newspaper clippings and postcards relating to southern Ontario and the northern United States, as well as a variety of textual records such as minutes, research files, scrapbooks, and correspondence. He also collected approximately 3000 photographs of church activities, social and cultural events, and friends and family members.

Photo: Alvin D. McCurdy and Thomas Kilgolen, Town Administrator and Clerk, 1974
Alvin D. McCurdy and Thomas Kilgallin, an Amherstburg
official [later Town Administrator and Clerk], 1974
Alvin D. McCurdy fonds
Reference Code: F 2076-16-1-3-1
Archives of Ontario, I0024813

Alvin McCurdy passed away in 1989 and his records were purchased by the Archives from his estate in 1990. His collection is the Archives' largest and most important source of information about the history of the black community in Ontario. The Collection includes materials that pre-date the founding of the province in 1791, and extends through the mid-20th century. This exhibit illustrates some of the key events and trends in Ontario black history with pictures and documents drawn from the McCurdy Collection.

Photo: Portrait of George McCurdy, [ca. 1975]
Portrait of George McCurdy, [ca. 1975]
Alvin D. McCurdy fonds
Reference Code: F 2076-16-1-2
Archives of Ontario, I0026083

"Friends . . . you or I cannot build a bridge back over the years to retrace certain instances of life, but a bridge of memory can be constructed within our minds and souls, to span the years and grasp, out of the past, certain accomplishments that may be utilized for the betterment of ourselves and for all mankind as a whole . . ."

Alvin D. McCurdy

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