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QAHN board member Dr. Dorothy Williams wins prestigious award!

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--May 11, 2023.

QAHN's own Dr. Dorothy Williams has just been selected for a prestigious award.

The Library and Archives Canada Scholar Awards, co-presented by the LAC Foundation and Library and Archives Canada, with the generous support of Founding Sponsor Air Canada, recognize remarkable Canadians who have made an outstanding contribution to the creation and promotion of our country’s culture, literary heritage and historical knowledge.

As the custodian of our distant past and of our recent history, Library and Archives Canada is an essential resource for all Canadians who wish to know themselves better, individually and collectively.

As such, it is essential for Library and Archives Canada and the Library and Archives Canada Foundation to recognize the exemplary work of those who support its fundamental mission which is to promote all aspects of Canadian culture, here and around the world.

This recognition also seeks to highlight the fact that the creation and dissemination of our heritage are increasingly democratic undertakings, no longer reserved to environments where knowledge has traditionally been developed.

Among the five 2023 recipients is Dr. Dorothy Williams, who is a member of QAHN's board of directors.

Dorothy's bio, as per the LAC website, reads as follows:

Dorothy Williams is a historian, author and researcher who specializes in the history of Black Canadians. Through her public presentations, her work with the National Film Board of Canada and her efforts to make resources related to the historical presence of Black Canadians more widely available, she has expanded the cultural and historical heritage of our country.

Dr. Williams grew up in the historic Black community of Little Burgundy in Montreal. She published her first book, Blacks in Montreal, 1628-1986: An Urban Demography, at the behest of the Quebec Human Rights Commission in 1989 for their study on racism in Montreal’s rental housing. Her second book, The Road to Now: A History of Blacks in Montreal, published in 1997, remains the only chronological study of Blacks on the island of Montreal.

With the objective of making Black history accessible to all, in 1995 Dr. Williams founded the non-profit organization Ethnocultural Diffusions to collect the oral history of Blacks in Montreal. Eleven years later, she registered Inc. to record Canada’s Black history sources. Blacbiblio launched the ABC’s of Canadian Black History kit in 2016 to promote the teaching of Black history in Canadian schools. Dr.Williams also teaches the extremely popular Concordia University course Black Montreal, which aims to dispel myths and misconceptions around Montreal’s Black history.

Dr. Williams has been recognized with many awards, including the Mathieu da Costa Award, and she was the first Canadian to win the ALA’s prestigious E. J. Josey Scholarship. In 2002, she was made a Quebec Laureate and received the Anne Greenup Award for the fight against racism and the promotion of civic participation. In 2022, she was given the John G. Dennison Award for her “research, scholarly publications, teaching and public speaking engagements showcasing Canada’s Black History.”

For revealing Quebec’s Black history to the world, in 2022 Dr. Williams was honoured as the subject of the first exhibition in the Afromuseum, Quebec’s first Black museum. She was also named as one of CBC Quebec’s 2022 Black Changemakers.

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