Profile: Daughter of Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters President Bert Proctor, Hazel Proctor was born and schooled in Edmonton, and began her work life there before moving to Calgary. Her father’s roots were in Ohio; her grandmother was part of the Oklahoma trek which settled in Amber Valley. Her father worked as a coal miner and then a porter; these were strenuous jobs that kept him away from his family for very long periods of time.
Proctor worked for and became involved in the community outreach of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, promoting diversity, which was inclusive of Indigenous organizations. As leader of the Alberta Association for the Advancement of Colored People (AAACP), she dealt with discrimination and systemic racism faced by black parents in the public schools, and in using swimming pools, dance halls and other public places. A Community leader and activist, Proctor – who belonged to several women’s organizations – describes the main job opportunities for black women during the 1950s and 1960s as house cleaning with very low pay.
Hazel Proctor had an extensive singing career, including singing with her father’s band. A singing highlight was performing for A. Philip Randolph, International President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
Key Words: African-American-Descendant; Alberta Association for Advancement of Coloured People (AAACP); Amber Valley – Descendant; Band Singer; Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters – Community Work; Community Activist; Council of Christians and Jews – Employment; Discrimination – Education; Racism
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