Melissa Shaw's Abstract:

 

“The War of 1914 Woke Him Up to Better Things”: An Enlistment Battle and Reawakened Black Canadian Race Consciousness in Ontario

Based solely on racial grounds, the Canadian military rejected Black Canadians trying to enlist in the “Great War” thereby failing to treat them like citizens and other subjects. Denied this fundamental privilege of citizenship, Black Canadians pragmatically responded using a variety of political activism methods and strategies to articulate their demands for full inclusion in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. Situating Black agency at the forefront of this conflict, in this paper I argue that the enlistment battle led to the rise of race consciousness ushering in a new era of Black Canadian social activism and nascent protest politics in Ontario.