File 142 - Conference papers & invited addresses.

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Conference papers & invited addresses.

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Biographical history

James (Jim) William Saint George Walker was born on August 5, 1940, in Toronto, and grew up in Agincourt, Ontario. Walker received his Bachelor's degree in History from Trinity College at the University of Toronto (1962), his Master’s degree in History from the University of Waterloo (1967), and his Ph.D. in History from Dalhousie University (1973). In 1976, Walker published his Ph.D. dissertation under the title The Black Loyalists: the search for a promised land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, 1783-1870 with Longman International Education, which he later republished with the University of Toronto Press in 1992 and 2017.

During his time as a student in the 1960s, Walker worked in a Gandhian ashram in India under the auspices of Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO) and he participated in the local support group for the US civil rights movement (“Friends of SNCC”) in Toronto. During Canada’s Centennial, he was Youth and Education Director for the Centennial International Development Programme. While at Dalhousie, Walker co-founded and taught the "Transition Year Program" designed to prepare African-Canadian and First Nations students for university entrance.

James Walker joined the University of Waterloo as a History professor in 1971. At the University of Waterloo, he created the first university-level course in African-Canadian History offered in Canada and Canada's first Public History graduate program; served as Chair of the Department of History (1981-1986); and taught courses in general History and Race relations, courses focused on Black Canadian and African History, and courses on Social History and Public History. During his research, teaching, and public speaker career his talks, publications, and courses focused on the history of African-Canadians, Canadian and international human rights, Racism in Canada, Race relations in Canada, Immigration, the Holocaust, and civil society and public history.

While in Waterloo, Walker co-founded and was a long-time board member of the Global Community Centre of Kitchener-Waterloo and has served on the boards of several NGOs with an international focus (including CUSO, the WUSC local committee, and the board of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute). Between 2003 and 2004, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council appointed Walker the Bora Laskin National Fellow in Human Rights Research. In 2013, Walker was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. And in 2016, he was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada.

In 2020, Walker retired from his professor role and remained as Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University of Waterloo.

During his professional years, James Walker published numerous articles, book chapters, and books, including, among others:

  • The Black Loyalists : The Search for a Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, Longman and Dalhousie University Press, 1976 (1992, 2017).
  • Racial discrimination in Canada: the Black experience, Canadian Historical Association, 1985.
  • "Race," Rights and the Law in the Supreme Court of Canada: Historical Case Studies, The Osgoode Society and Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1997.
  • Critical Mass: The Emergence of Global Civil Society, Centre for International Governance Innovation and Wilfrid Laurier University Press, co-authored with Andrew Thompson, 2008.
  • “A Black Day in Court: ‘Race’ and Judging in R v RDS” in The African-Canadian Legal Odyssey, edited by Barrington Walker, Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History and University of Toronto Press, 2012.
  • Burnley "Rocky" Jones : revolutionary : an autobiography, Fernwood Publishing, 2016.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Materials related to events where James Walker participated with papers and addresses. Events and materials included are:

  • Remarks delivered during Black History Month (February 24, 2016) at the Black Students Association (BASE), includes related newspaper clipping,
  • Speeches for the events "Larry Hill" at CIGI (October 7, 2015) and "Larry Hill Colloquium" (June 15, 2011),
  • Speech at the Association for Jewish Studies, Winnipeg, 2004,
  • Mark Zanna eulogy, 2020,
  • Keynote address titled “(Coloured) in context: the No. 2 and the White man’s war” at the Acadia Conference (October 2016), includes correspondence with a schedule of the event and a poster of a film screening
  • Remarks and workshop “Decoding the rights revolution: lessons from the Canadian experience” at McMaster University (March 2012),
  • Talk about The book of Negroes at Kitchener Public Library talk with Lawrence Hill (2009), includes correspondence nominating Lawrence Hill for an honorary degree from the University of Waterloo,
  • Presentation of Alan Borovoy for the Hon. LL.D. Convocation (2007),
  • Lecture “From Black loyalists to Black Panthers: a circular history” at Journey back to Birchtown 1st Anniversary Lecture series, Birchtown (May 2016), includes program and materials related to Burnley “Rocky” Jones Revolutionary. An autobiography by Burnley “Rocky” Jones and James Walker,
  • Talk “The Black loyalists and the Krio Diaspora: community, culture and politics” at Krio Descendants Union International Conference (2016),
  • Talk “The Black Loyalists in fiction and history” at PIER 21 (2016),
  • "Toast to 6T3!" at Trinity College 6T3 50th Anniversary, includes programme and correspondence.
  • U.E.L Association. Oakland, Ontario (2010),
  • Talk “Toward equal dignity: Canadian Jewry and the Hate Law of 1970” at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Canadian Studies event (2004),
  • Introduction to Alex Neve BSIA CIGI (2016),
  • Michael Craton's funeral eulogy,
  • Talk “Navigating the Black Atlantic: the trail of the Black Loyalists” at UNESCO conference “African diaspora” Halifax (2011),
  • “Toward a new definition of Canadian citizenship: the movement to criminalize hate propaganda” part of the panel “Citizen activism within the Human Rights movement, 1963-1971” with James Waler, Stephanie Bangarth, and Jennifer Tunnicliffe in the UQAM Conference, Montreal,
  • Memorial for Howard McCurdy written by James Walker and delivered by George Elliott Clarke, Ottawa (2018), includes correspondence,
  • History workshop Campinas Brazil (2007),
  • Talk “Campaign for racial equity: the national unity association, 1948-1956” at the John Brown festival, organized by the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society (May 6-7, 2011), includes poster and program,
  • Remarks for the play “My place is right here” Elmira (2019),
  • Talk “Canada’s Black Battalion in a White man’s war” at St George’s Church: a lecture series to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the End of World War I, New Hamburg (2018), includes program,
  • Address “Behind The Book of Negroes and Twenty Feet from Revolution” to SSHRC National Staff, Ottawa (January 7, 2015), includes correspondence,
  • Remarks delivered to North Buxton Labour Day Reunion (2003),
  • Remarks to Black Loyalist Heritage Society, Halifax (2003),
  • Third Age lecture #1 “Flight to Freedom: Black migration to Canada from the American Revolution to the Civil War”, Waterloo (October 24, 2013),
  • Remarks “High Burnett and the National Unity Association” at the Unveiling ceremony plaque for Hugh Burnett & the N.U.A. Dresden, Ontario (2010),
  • Convocation Address “Human Rights – and us” (October 24, 2015), includes invitation and program.

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Donated by James Walker in 2022.


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  • English

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The records in this file were physically separated into multiple folders.

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Described by CGD in 2022.

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  • English

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