February 27, 2018 QUEEN’S PARK – On Tuesday, Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield spoke about the life and accomplishments of a remarkable local champion, Dr. Howard McCurdy.
The full members statement follows:
“We’ll be holding a memorial service in Windsor on Saturday to celebrate the life of Dr. Howard McCurdy.
As a child, he was told he couldn’t join an all-white scout troop. As a teenager, he was told he couldn’t go to the local pool hall in Amherstburg. Those and other rejections sent Howard McCurdy on a lifelong journey.
He became an activist for human rights—the founding president of the National Black Coalition of Canada. Howard earned a PhD in microbiology and chemistry from Michigan State. He taught at the University of Windsor. He served as president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. He was a former chair of the board of governors at St. Clair College.
As a reporter, I covered Howard McCurdy during his two terms as an Alderman in Windsor. He made sure the city’s hiring practices were changed, giving visible minorities an equal opportunity for a chance at a city job. He was Canada’s second black Member of Parliament and the first black person elected as a New Democrat. Howard McCurdy was charismatic, sophisticated and usually the best-dressed man in the room.
He was a well-known champion of civil rights in Canada. During the Mulroney years, he worked hand-in-glove with external affairs minister, Joe Clark, to fight apartheid in South Africa. Because of their efforts, Canada was the only G7 country to issue sanctions against South Africa. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison and visited Canada, he asked to meet with Howard McCurdy to thank him personally.
Dr. Howard McCurdy wouldn’t tolerate an injustice against anyone. He raised the bar for us all. We will celebrate his achievements with Brenda and their extended family on Saturday.”