They Call Me George: The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada

Category: Book
By (author): Foster, Cecil
Series: Untold Lives
Subject:  HISTORY / African American
  HISTORY / Canada / Post-Confederation (1867-)
  HISTORY / Social History
  NON-FICTION / Canadian
Publisher: Biblioasis
Published: January 2019
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 336
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in
Our Price:
$ 22.95
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

A historical work of non-fiction that chronicles the little-known stories of black railway porters- the so-called "Pullmen" of the Canadian rail lines. The actions and spirit of these men helped define Canada as a nation in surprising ways; effecting race relations, human rights, North American multiculturalism, community building, the shape and structure of unions, and the nature of travel and business across the US and Canada. Drawing on the stories and legends of several of these influential early black Canadians, this book narrates the history of a very visible, but rarely considered, aspect of black life in railway-age Canada. These porters, who fought against the idea of Canada as White Man's Country, open only to immigrants from Europe, fought for opportunities and rights and won.

Review Quote*

Praise for Cecil Foster

"Cecil Foster is a wise man with a flair for storytelling and writing that enters the heart." -Quill & Quire (Starred Review)

"Foster's story of a West Indies community in transition is a marvelous read, filled with humour, sorrow, and wit, and told with the deft and gentle touch of a master storyteller." -Thomas King

"Cecil Foster kicks up one hell of a class-war fuss and proves he's got stuff enough to show those mediocre storytellers how it's really done... Unforgettable." -Toronto Star

"With Independence, Foster elegantly equates the coming of age of his protagonists with the coming of age of the nation. At the same time, he interprets that enduring theme so aptly articulated in the writings of critic Wilfred Cartey: I going away. I going home." -National Post

"I don't know when I've read a more evocative book about black men. Read it and you will see the world differently." -Vancouver Sun "Foster brings historical depth to his work and shows that the social and political recognition of blackness and multiculturalism is itself a contingent moment in history." -George Dei, University of Toronto "Sharp-edged…moving." -Kirkus Reviews
Biographical Note

Cecil Foster is a leading author, academic, journalist and public intellectual. His work speaks about the challenges that Black people have encountered historically in Canada in their efforts to achieve respect and recognition for their contribution to what is now a multicultural Canada. He highlights their fight for social justice and human dignity. In particular, Foster addresses the issues of immigration in his critical discussions on who is a Canadian in the ever-evolving social narrative toward a genuine multicultural Canada.