By Stephen Weir
Just in time for Christmas, the autobiography of Dr. Howard D. McCurdy has arrived at Canadian bookstores. Published some five years after the death of the founder of the National Black Coalition of Canada, “Black Activist, Black Scientist, Black Icon: The Autobiography of Dr. Howard D. McCurdy” is a book that had to be published and now must be read.
McCurdy, the first Black tenured professor, a founder of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the person who named the New Democratic Party, and the second Black elected to Parliament, was working on the book when he passed away in 2018. Not ready for print, Toronto author and poet George Elliott Clarke stepped in to complete the story. Clarke was McCurdy’s House of Commons aide from 1987-1991 and finished the book after McCurdy died in early 2018.
“Dr. Howard McCurdy is the author of this autobiography. Period,” writes George Elliott Clarke in the introduction to “Black Activist, Black Scientist, Black Icon.” “But in July 2017, seven months before his decease, he requested that I edit this work, which was already progressing toward a conclusion.”
Clarke took on the task of editing and completing the memoir. Fortunately, says Clarke, “The man can write, good people.”
“Dr. Howard McCurdy was exemplary in self-sacrifice; he was stellar in avant-garde thought and vision; he was…the most unforgettably proud Black man that I ever had the pleasure to know.”