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The Jackie Robinson myth : social mobility and race in Montreal, 1920-1960

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The Jackie Robinson myth : social mobility and race in Montreal, 1920-1960

Williams, Dorothy W (1999) The Jackie Robinson myth : social mobility and race in Montreal, 1920-1960. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

In 1946, the Brooklyn Dodgers sent Jackie Robinson to their farm team, the Montreal Royals. Robinson had been chosen as the first Black who would break the colour barrier in major league baseball. The Royals were chosen because it was felt that Montreal would provide a more tolerant atmosphere than any American city. From the beginning, Jackie Robinson was well received on and off the field. He became a lasting source of pride for the city, proof that Montreal had a high degree of racial tolerance. But racial tolerance was not so evident to Blacks living in Montreal. They experienced severe discrimination in jobs, in housing and in the city's social life. Yet, some Blacks of the Robinson era made considerable socio-economic gains. The question is whether their success was the result of Montreal's tolerance or of other factors. This paper examines two Black Montrealers of the Robinson years. Richard Lord achieved prominence as an engineer, a lawyer, and as a leader of the larger community, a prominence that included service as President of the Quebec Liberal Party. His sister, Gwen Lord, was one the first Black teachers in Montreal, eventually rising to a senior position in the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal. At first glance, their stories seem to support the Robinson myth that Montreal was a place where Blacks had an equal chance to achieve social acceptance and economic opportunity. However, this study suggests their success had little to do with an absence of racism and that the perceived climate of tolerance in Montreal was a myth.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Williams, Dorothy W
Pagination:v, 109 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:History
Date:1999
Thesis Supervisor(s):Decarie, Graeme
ID Code:708
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:13
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:16
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