Carrie Best

Carrie Best“Nobody in Nova Scotia, or in Canada, or in the world, has the power to rob me of my personal dignity”

Carrie Best, born in 1903, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, was best known for being an activist and creating the first Black-owned and published Nova Scotia newspaper. Amongst her accomplishments included becoming a Member of the Order of Canada, being awarded the Queen Elizabeth Medal and receiving the Minister’s Award of Excellence in Race Relations, just to name a few.

Growing up in a household with her parents and two brothers, Best and her siblings were encourage to study the history of African-Canadians and be proud of their Black heritage. [1] You can say that Best’s successful career and accomplishments stemmed from her upbringing and was the reason why her voice became as strong as it was in the fight for justice and equality against racism.

An event that could be contributed to spearheading the course of Best’s greatest accomplishments (creating the first black-owned and published newspaper in Nova Scotia, starting her own radio program The Quiet Corner and becoming the human rights columnist for the Pictou Advocate) happened in 1941 where she fought against the racial segregation of whites and blacks in the Roseland Theatre. After hearing several high school girls had been removed by force from the Roseland Theatre after attempting to sit in the white only section [2], Best “argued" [3] and “wrote" [4] to the Roseland Theatre’s owner against the “racist policy” [5], but to no avail.

“The cashier issued tickets for the balcony, the area reserved for Black patrons. Leaving the tickets on the counter, the mother and son walked into the auditorium.”

Carrie Best and her son walked into the Roseland Theatre after not accepting tickets to be seated in the balcony which was the "blacks-only" section. After her ordeal of being “dragged" [6] out of the theatre, and a failed case after Best’s attempt to file a lawsuit against the theatre, she started the newspaper to address “the persistent problems of racism and segregation."[7]

During an interview with Jim Dunn from the CBC in 1991, it was obvious Best’s strength and determination helped achieve her many accomplishments, and to become the prominent civil rights activist that she was.

Carrie Best passed away in 2001, but her legacy continues to this day and was commemorated on a stamp by the Canada Post in 2011.

Watch her CBC interview with Jim Dunn from 1991 here.

 

The following are some of Carrie Best’s most important achievements:
  • Member of the Order of Canada in 1974
  • Awarded the Queen Elizabeth Medal in 1977
  • Officer of the Order of Canada in 1979
  • Awarded an honorary doctor of civil laws (DC.L.) from the University of King’s 
  • College, Halifax, in 1992
  • Founded the Kay Livingstone Visible Minority Women’s Society of Nova Scotia in 1975
  • Inducted into the Nova Scotia Black Wall of Fame in 1980
  • Received the Harry Jerome Award in 1986
  • Received the Harambee Membership Plaque in 1987
  • Received the Black Professional Women’s Group Award Certificate in 1989
  • Received the Minister’s Award of Excellence in Race Relations—Minister of State for Multiculturalism, in 1990
  • Received the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission Award in 1991
  • Received the Town of New Glasgow Award for work in race relations in 1992
  • Received the Congress of Black Women Certificate in 1993

Sources:

  1. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/carrie-best/
  2. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/carrie-best/
  3. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/carrie-best/
  4. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/carrie-best/
  5. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/carrie-best/
  6. http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/civil-rights-activist-carrie-best
  7. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/carrie-best/
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