Telling the Story of Canada’s Black Battalion - News & Events - Library and Archives Canada
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Ottawa, November 2, 2001 - The National Archives of Canada will host the Ottawa premiere of a docudrama on Canada’s one and only all-Black military battalion from the First World War. Honour Before Glory was created this past year by Canadian actor and filmmaker Anthony Sherwood (of CBC’s Street Legal) and is based on the wartime diaries of his great uncle, the Reverend William White, the battalion’s chaplain.

The film screening and reception will take place on Wednesday, November 7, 2001, at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the National Archives, 395 Wellington Street.

“When I first received the diary I was filled with excitement. In my hands I was holding something almost 100 years old. In the diary, beautifully and poetically, William White transported me back in time. I felt as though I had been invited to share his most personal thoughts, his desires, his pain, his troubles,” said Mr. Sherwood.

The film tells the story of the No. 2 Construction Battalion, composed of Black soldiers who came from across Canada. Viewers learn how Reverend White fought for the rights of his men  --  Blacks were initially refused enlistment into the Canadian military because of the colour of their skin  --  and how the soldiers became an important part of Canadian history. The 66-minute documentary includes interviews with descendants, dramatizations and archival film footage.

Part of Veterans’ Week 2001, the 7:00 p.m. event at the National Archives will feature a Question and Answer period with the filmmaker and a reception after the screening. Guests include the Honourable Herb Gray, Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Hedy Fry, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Status of Women, and Carmen Provenzano, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs.

The film screening is being co-organized by Anthony Sherwood Productions, the National Archives of Canada, the Department of National Defence, Veterans Affairs Canada, the Millennium Partnership Program and the Historica Foundation of Canada.

To arrange a media interview with Anthony Sherwood before Nov. 7, please call (905) 450-5232.

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For more information, please contact:

Louisa Coates
National Archives of Canada
Telephone: (613) 992-9361