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EXHIBITIONS / Derailed / George Garraway


George Garraway

Image 1: Newspaper articles announcing the employment discrimination complaints and subsequent hiring of George Garraway as the first Black conductor with the CPR. R12294, Vol. 21, File 1. Library and Archives Canada

Image 2: “A fight to end the colour bar in employment on Canadian railroads appears to have scored its first success.” R12294, Vol. 20, File
16. Library of Archives Canada/Canadian Labour Congress

“For the first time in Canada’s railway history, there will be Negro sleeping car conductors. The Canadian Pacific Railway disclosed the promotion of three porters. All of Toronto, those promoted to conductors were George Garraway, Roy Hall, and William Lowe…Sydney Blum, secretary of the Human Rights Committee in Toronto, said the promotions resulted from enforcement of the Canada Fair Employment Practices Act passed in 1953.” The Telegram (1956)

George Garraway would create history for the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) and Black people across North America. He was the first porter to work as a conductor in Canada. To achieve this honour, Garraway and the Toronto chapter of the BSCP had to convince the leadership of the international union in the United States to support them. In a press release issued April 30, 1955 the union celebrated: “A fight to end the colour bar in employment on Canadian railroads has scored its first success. Mr. George Garraway became the first Negro hired as a Sleeping Car conductor with the Canadian Railway…”

A press release issued in 1955, documenting the story of the hiring of George Garraway. Courtesy of Latanya, Sonya and Stanley Grizzle Jr.

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