Same cause, different protest from 1964 to 2020
LETHBRIDGE -- Addressing racism in Canada means looking at how it began, as an exclusive two-part story on some of southern Alberta’s issues when it comes to racial discrimination both past and present.
The Galt Museum and Archives is a great place to look at the history of Lethbridge, including problems surrounding racism. Archivist Andrew Chernevych said the request to look into what discrimination looked like in a smaller scope wasn't a surprise considering recent events.
"It’s to be expected that people will be looking for historical parallels."
Protests against racial injustice and discrimination are really nothing new to Lethbridge. A photo taken by the Lethbridge Herald in 1965, shows students from the Lethbridge Community College protesting for some of the same things we’re seeing right now.
Chernevych said the students were protesting against a variety of injustices but the primary focus was on racial injustice.
"How we know that is that they’re holding those protest signs and with various messages and several of them to do with Indigenous rights and discrimination."
Chernevych also found a research paper presented in the 1980s titled Love Thy Neighbour Social and Racial Attitudes in Lethbridge 1884-1945.
"It would be referred as 'settlers culture' in Lethbridge and how it was part of the imperial set of values, British values, and how it affected communities that would be considered others outsiders."
The "others" referred to Indigenous peoples, immigrants and other racial minorities. The paper even documents an incident in 1929 where the Klu Klux Klan wrote a letter to city council objecting about the number of Asian Canadians living in the city.
"Some information that was included in that paper, surprised me. Some of those things I wasn’t aware of. I never read this one before."
The archives make it possible for people to learn about Lethbridge’s history. Chernevych said that includes the recent protests and rallies against racial discrimination that have been held around the city.
"Photographs will become part of family archives and eventually end up in our community archives."
In part two of Racism in Alberta - past and present, a follow up to this story on how a University of Lethbridge professor who collaborated on a documentary with a professor at the University of Calgary and the president of Edmonton’s Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots looking at black settlers in Alberta will be available on July 3.