Sunday, January 31, 2010

BHM Toronto history - Thornton Blackburn

This 1846 painting of King Street East features Toronto's first taxi cab, "The City" with none other than Thornton Blackburn himself (seated atop) conducting the horse-drawn coach.

Black History Month is for everyone. Each year, we remember the significance of inspiring Black people in history. It is a sadly wasted opportunity if this exercise begins and ends with Marin Luther King, with all due respect to the towering legacy he left. It's further unfortunate if we're left with the notion that "Black History" only happened in the United States. Colonialism distributed Africans throughout Europe and the Americas, and to the furthest reaches of the global diaspora we'll find wonderful stories and rich history.

As I'm in Toronto, we'll look at a few Black people who've had an impact on the region's development, making  contributions as well as just being interesting yet seldom recognized parts of GTA history. A most appropriate person with whom to start is none other than Thornton Blackburn.