Join Biblioasis and the Toronto International Festival of Authors in celebrating the release of Cecil Foster’s They Call Me George: The Untold History of Black Train Porters and the Making of Modern Canada through Toronto Lit Up!
Smartly dressed and smiling, Canada’s black train porters were a familiar sight to the average passenger—yet their minority status rendered them politically invisible, second-class in the social imagination that determined who was and who was not considered Canadian. Subjected to grueling shifts and unreasonable standards—a passenger missing his stop was a dismissible offense—the so-called Pullmen of the country’s rail lines were denied secure positions and prohibited from bringing their families to Canada, and it was their struggle against the racist Dominion that laid the groundwork for the multicultural nation we know today. Drawing on the experiences of these influential black Canadians, Cecil Foster’s They Call Me George demonstrates the power of individuals and minority groups in the fight for social justice and shows how a country can change for the better.
Toronto Lit Up is a three year initiative, spearheaded by the Toronto International Festival of Authors and the Toronto Arts Council, designed to spotlight Toronto’s writers and empower local artists with career-building opportunities. Click here for more information.
Cecil Foster is a leading author, academic, journalist and public intellectual. His work speaks about the challenges that Black people have encountered historically in Canada in their efforts to achieve respect and recognition for their contribution to what is now a multicultural Canada. He highlights their fight for social justice and human dignity. In particular, Foster addresses the issues of immigration in his critical discussions on who is a Canadian in the ever-evolving social narrative toward a genuine multicultural Canada.