Profile: Mojo Williams was born in Calgary in 1946, a third generation Canadian whose grandparents had fled racist harassment in Oklahoma to farm in Canada. His dad was a railway porter and shoeshiner and his mother worked as a domestic for wealthy whites. The family faced discrimination when they sought housing in an all-white neighbourhood. Mojo got into many school fights where he defended himself against racist kids.
As an adult, Williams became a successful gemologist and musician. His fighting spirit led him to become the grievance officer for the Alberta Association for the Advancement of Coloured People for many years beginning in the late 1960s. Black people in Calgary asked him to intervene in cases involving discrimination in housing, harassment in workplaces, the barring of Blacks as customers in nightclubs, and discrimination faced by Black children in Calgary schools. Williams focused on efforts to persuade those accused of specific instances of racism that they or the institutions that they were part of would suffer reputationally if they did not end their discriminatory practices.
Keywords: African-American migration; Alberta Association for the Advancement of Coloured Peoples (AAACP); Black Canadians; Black settlements in Alberta; Domestic workers; Grievance Officer; Racism; Railway porters; Segregation
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