Remembering ‘Uncle Don’


 

Kathy Grant, founder of the Legacy Voices Project, holds a photo of Donald Willard Moore.
Kathy Grant, founder of the Legacy Voices Project, holds a photo of Donald Willard Moore.

 

Yesterday marked Donald Moore Day across Canada.

Originally from Barbados where he was born in 1891, Moore came to Canada in 1913 and was an outstanding leader and advocate for human rights and citizenship. His civic engagement would be felt for generations to come.

On April 27, 1954, Moore – affectionately known as ‘Uncle Don’ – led a historic delegation to Ottawa to challenge the government’s discriminatory immigration policies.

They argued the policies were unfair and excluded racialized immigrants. In 1955, then-prime minister Louis St. Laurent’s government revised immigration policy to include people from the Caribbean and the developing world. Moore’s advocacy benefited not only Caribbean nationals but people from across the world.

In the 1920’s Moore met Marcus Mosiah Garvey founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and was influenced by his policies and principles. He became a founding member of the UNIA (Toronto Chapter), The West Indian Trading Company and the first Black Credit union founded in 1944.

His Toronto home was a beacon for immigrants and Occidental Cleaners, his dry-cleaning business, supported many community fundraising efforts. The Order of Canada recipient died in 1994.

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