JIS News

A Jamaican-born journalist is one of four persons featured on the Official Black History Month Poster in Canada, which is celebrating its 10th Anniversary.Hamlin Grange, a broadcast journalist originally from Kingston, and a former news anchor at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is featured alongside Judge Corrine Sparks, the first black woman to serve on the judiciary in Canada; Marlene Jennings, the first black woman in Quebec to be elected to Parliament; and renowned jazz musician, Oscar Peterson.
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Grange said he was “shocked, surprised and quite honoured” when he was told he would be featured on the poster. “I felt very humbled to be in the company of Corrine Sparks, Oscar Peterson and Marlene Jennings,” he said.
On the poster, Mr. Grange, who migrated to Canada in 1964 at the age of nine, is described as “a pioneer in the field of journalism, who has worked as a reporter, news anchor and television host within the industry”.
The media specialist’s nearly 30-year career actually began before his graduation in 1977 from the University of Colorado where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. He has worked for a number of entities, including Canada’s black community newspaper, Contrast, the Toronto Star newspaper, Global Television and CBC Television. At CBC, where he was employed for approximately 15 years, he was an Assignment Editor, Municipal Affairs Reporter, Interviewer, News Anchor, and host of two current affairs programmes, Workweek and More to the Story.
Describing the poster as a positive initiative, Mr. Grange said the persons highlighted could help to show young people that there were others like them who were contributing and making a difference. “Any opportunity to highlight our community in a positive way is good,” he said.
The former student of Chetolah Park Primary School in Kingston and Grove Town Primary in Manchester, is now President of his own company, ProMedia International, a training and consulting company specializing in diversity in the workplace. He is also Vice-President of Innoversity, a not-for-profit company which seeks to increase diversity in media and cultural institutions.
A founding member of the eight year-old Canadian Association of Black Journalists (CABJ), Mr. Grange has been the organization’s President for the past four years. He is also a founding member of the Harry Jerome Awards and a member of the Board of the Black Film and Video Network (BFVN).
Speaking to JIS News, creator of the Official Black History Month Poster, Robert Small, said he chose persons who, through their careers and accomplishments, have made an impact on black people and Canadians in general.
Mr. Grange, he noted, was on television at a time when there were few visible minorities in the public arena. “Hamlin’s positive image and respectability as a black man on television contrasted greatly with the negative image of blacks on television,” said the Canadian-born Small, whose family hails from Barbados.
The poster has gained popularity over the years and the background information on each participant is now featured in both English and French. Mr. Small said he has already chosen at least three persons for next year’s poster.
Several prominent Jamaicans have been featured on past posters, including Alvin Curling, the new Speaker of the Ontario Legislature and the first black to be so appointed; former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Lincoln Alexander, the first black to be appointed in that position; the late Rosemary Brown, the first black woman elected to political office in Canada; and Herb Carnegie, a hockey legend during the 1940s and 1950s who was voted the Most Valuable Player for three consecutive years while playing in the Quebec Senior League.

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