Black History Month: Photo series and vignettes
In honour of Black History Month, here are a few noteworthy individuals associated with the University of Manitoba during the past 100 years.
Tom Casey (BA/52, MD/57) played for the Blue Bombers while a medical student at the University of Manitoba. Both photos are from the Hugh Allan fonds.
Hewburn Greenridge was the first black man to graduate from the University of Manitoba (MD/1920). There’s more information on Greenridge in the 1920 Brown in Gold: “Hewburn N. Greenridge, ‘the dark horse,’ has the distinction of being the first man of his race to graduate from this University. He served with the Canadian Forces in France and the best wishes of the boys go with him to the tropics, where he intends to practice.” (NB: Also spelled “Greenidge.”)
According to the website georgebrooksca.wordpress.com, there is an interesting connection between Hewburn Greenridge and a man named George St. Pierre Brooks, who was not affiliated with the U of M. A blog post suggests that of 605 black men who enlisted in the Construction Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces, two of the enlisted were from Winnipeg: Brooks and Greenridge, who both were in the CEF.
George St. Pierre Brooks
The Winnipeg Tribune 1945 photo shows George St. Pierre Brooks with boxer Joe Louis at Deer Lodge. The photo with a Deer Lodge Nurse was taken when he was approximately 102 years old. He believed, but records could not confirm, that his date of birth was actually earlier so he may have been a few years older when this photo was taken. George St. Pierre Brooks was a veteran of the First World War, the American Civil War, and the Spanish-American War as well. He was born a slave in Kentucky and died at Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg.
There are a few articles on Brooks in the Winnipeg Tribune at the following links:
All photos and information courtesy of Archives & Special Collections, University of Manitoba Libraries.