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Chapter 1

SOCB50H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Toronto Ontarios, Harrison Family Of Virginia, Pulaski, Tennessee


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCB50H3
Professor
Joe Hermer
Chapter
1

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It Will Be Quite an Object Lesson : R. v Phillips and the Ku Klux Klan in Oakville,
Ontario, 1930
-28 February 1930, a 'small army' of seventy-five individuals, clad in white gowns and hoods,
marched through the town of Oakville
-marchers strode to the centre of town, where they planted a massive cross in the middle of the
road. Then they set a torch to the oil-soaked rags tied to the huge wooden cross.
-next task was to locate David Kerr, Oakville's white police chief, 'to acquaint him with the
purpose of their visit who wasn’t available at the time
- next visit was to the home of Ira Junius Johnson. The Klansmen learned that Johnson, 'a Negro,'
was living with a 'white girl' named Isabel Jones and their intent was to discipline the racially
upstart Ira Johnson and put an end to the mixed-raceliaison
-According to the Hamilton Spectator, the KKK members 'thundered on the door and demanded
of the negro who answered them that he bring out[the] white girl
-Twenty-year-old Isabel Jones emerged, and was hustled off to the home of her white, widowed
mother. And after brief consultation with Mrs Jones, Isabel was deposited in the care of Captain
W. Broome, a white officer of the Salvation Army
-Klansmen then returned for Ira Johnson and forcibly removed the terrified man, casting him into
another car with 'two stalwarts' as guards on either side.
-caravan collected Ira Johnson's elderly aunt and uncle from their home, and drove back to Head
Street.
-threatened that, if Ira Johnson was 'ever seen walking down the street with a white girl again,
the Klan 'would attend to him’.
-one of Oakville's Black citizens had located the police chief and alerted him to the situation
-Chief Kerr headed out to investigate, and came upon a cavalcade of fifteen cars on Navy Street,
all filled with white-robed men
-Chief Kerr recognized the men from the city of Hamilton and didn’t warn them or arrested them
as they said that no damage to property was made or person and did not require warranting his
interference.
THE COMMUNITY RESPONDS
-Many newspapers reported this incident as a lead item for the next morning.
-Described as the 'Saratoga of Ontario,' the town of Oakville was widely reputed to be a
'Canadian Newport,' developed in the late nineteenth century as a splendid and picturesque
summer resort for the well-to-do citizens of southwestern Ontario
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-In 1930, Oakville's population numbered fewer than 4,000. Almost 93% of the residents traced
their heritage from English, Irish, Scottish, or other 'British races
-largest non-European group to show up was the Asian Canadians, a community of 20.
-mayor J.B. Moat told the Star that 'the colored population' had recently decreased leaving 'not
more than forty with women and children
-Although records indicate that the first Black man arrived as early as 1606, substantial numbers
did not immigrate until after the American Revolution in 1782
-several thousand free Black Loyalists took up land grants from the Crown. Many of the white
Loyalists also brought their Black slaves with them.
-During War of 1812, several thousand more Blacks sought refuge with the British, ultimately
settling in Nova Scotia between 1813 and 1815.
In the 1840s and1850s, the province of Canada West received an estimated forty thousand
American Blacks, who were fleeing the Fugitive Slave Act via the Underground Railroad
-Smaller groups of Blacks migrated to the far west, settling on Vancouver Island in 1859, and in
Saskatchewan and Alberta in the 1890s, and between 1910 and 1914
-numbers continued to come from US and West Indies from the 1920s onward
-Racist whites spearheaded campaigns within several provinces to re strict the entry of Black
immigrants.
-from 1864, physicians had been predicting that the harsh Canadian winter would 'efface' the
Black population, and this theme was enthusiastically adopted by senior officials from the
Department of the Interior at the turn of the century.
-federal government responded in 1910 with an Act respecting Immigration that allowed the
federal cabinet to issue orders prohibiting the entry of immigrants belonging to any race deemed
unsuited to the climate or requirements of Canada
-Order-in-Council was drafted in1911, to prohibit the landing in Canada of 'any immigrant
belonging to the Negro race but never declared in force
-Concerned about the potential diplomatic problems this overtly exclusionary policy might create
be tween Canada and the United States, the authorities opted to utilize unwritten, informal rules
to accomplish the same end by more indirect means and similar legislation was written in
Newfoundland in 1926.
-Black community in Oakville, primarily descendants of American born former slaves, dated
back to the mid-nineteenth century and its safe to suggest that the press commentary on the KKK
incident, attributing 'general pleasure' as the predominant community response, did not reflect
the views of all the citizens of Oakville
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-Blacks, Asian Canadians, and the small Jewish and Roman Catholic communities, all groups
who suffered from Klan venom, must have been deeply disturbed by the disruption
-Although no one from Oakville was quoted in the press, a delegation of prominent Black
Torontonians voiced a challenge to the prevailing sentiment. E. Lionel Cross, one of the few
Black lawyers in Toronto, was the most vocal
-Cross called a 'mass meeting' of Blacks at the University Avenue First Baptist Church in
Toronto
-Ontario's oldest Black Baptist church, and its pastor, Rev. H. Lawrence McNeil, joined Cross in
urging members of the Black community to come out
-McNeil's was another prominent Black leader, Toronto lawyer B.J. Spencer Pitt
-Cross, McNeil, and Pitt were successful in convincing those assembled to endorse a resolution
requesting the government to take action
-confronted the province's senior legal authority, Ontario Attorney General W.H. Price, with
their demands the next day where Price said that an investigation would occur, however he gave
most of the responsibilities to individuals such as Police Chief Kerr and Milton chief attorney.
-Newspaper reported that Johnson claimed to be descended from white and 'Indian' relations
originally from Indiana and Maryland, informed the press that he had 'not a drop of negro blood
in his veins
-The Star indicated that Johnson's mother, described by the reporter as 'a refined and intelligent
woman/ was the daughter of Rev. Junius Roberts, a white who 'preached for many years to negro
congregations at Guelph, Hamilton and Oakville more than forty years ago
-Newspapers also reported on his visual identification offering opinions that he looked almost
white and had features from his indian connection and was tall and had dark straight hair.
-Community members believed he had coloured blood, and assuming his name Johnson was also
a name quite common in the black community.
-Newspaper wanted to rehabilitate Johnson’s identification by changing it from being considered
a black individual and published columns about his services during the war, and his native
American background.
-The KKK were still pursuing their quarry and it was said that a vehicle would stalk Jones.
-The globe’s article was then replied to by the KKK specifically someone called the “scribe”
who defended their actions and described that their actions were made on the free will of the ppl
involved.
-The KKK originated in Pulaski, Tennessee, in1865. 6 white officers of the Confederate army
returned home from unsuccessful campaigns during the American Civil War to form a club they
called the 'Ku Klux Klan.' 'Ku Klux' was their rendition of the Greek word for circle, 'Kuklos.'
'Klan' was added out of deference to the group's common Scottish and Irish heritage
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