Authors George and Darryl Fosty (relation) capture a significant contribution by descendants of African American slaves who made their way through Canada and settled in Nova Scotia.
Black Ice tells the story of African Canadians and their immense contribution to the development of Canada, “The history of Black Canadians has, for the most part either been forgotten ,deliberately destroyed or conveniently ignored,” the Fostys wrote in Black Ice. They go on to say that most historians have often dismissed the accounts or have viewed them as irrelevant.
According to the Fostys, black Canadians controlled a block of agricultural lands near Halifax, meaning they controlled an important part of the City’s produce industry. As the City grew over the next 150 years, politicians introduced discriminatory practices to relegate blacks to the background. They did this by degrading their schools, hospitals and neighborhoods, the authors claim.
The brothers searched through Church archives, public record, family collections and other sources to put together this educational material. Black Ice was released in 2004. The book deals with the lost history of the colored hockey league of the Maritimes.
“I was stunned at one point when I realized that an important historical account of early history, an 1815 newspaper report of hockey being played on the North Arm, near Halifax, that people who lived in that area were black,” said Fosty.
According to the book, contributions of black Canadians to hockey is anything but irrelevant. Their style of play in the late 19th century was amazing and has contributed immensely to the National Hockey League.
Henry ‘Braces’ Franklyn was the first “flopping” goalie and it would be more than 50 years before Jeaques Plante would popularize it in the NHL. Also, the slap shot was first seen in the colored hockey league and was not introduced to the NHL until about 50 years later.
Although NHL records put Willie O’Ree as the first person of African descent to play in the National Hockey League in 1958, O’Ree himself has long insisted that there were talented black players before him. Folks like Stan Maxwell and Herb Canegie, who were qualified to play in the NHL, but were denied.
The Authors of “Black Ice” have presented their findings to the NHL diversity task force. The NHL listened and are currently in discussion with the Fostys about their research. However, there is still no official recognition of the Colored Hockey League.
To get a copy of the book in Canada, you can contact: ‘A different Book List’ at 416 538 0889 or ‘Outside the Lines’ in Halifax at 902 422 3544. Also available online www.Amazon.com.