Image: “No 6. Mobile Veterinary Section C.S.E.F. at New Westminster, B.C. 9/12/18.” Collections CCGW/CCGG, 2017.2.03.
As many of you are probably aware, February was Black History Month. In the past, we’ve taken this opportunity to write about the No. 2 Construction Battalion- Canada’s first and only all-black non combatant battalion during the First World War. This year, however, in keeping theme with our “After the War” travelling exhibition, I wanted to write about the returning black soldier’s experience. It has often been argued that the all-black battalion helped fight significant home-front battles related to racism and inequality. While I am not disputing this claim, I think it also important to consider the ways in which an all-black battalion also helped reinforce segregation and inequality in the CEF and throughout Canadian society. This reinforcement ultimately lead to an increased race consciousness and social activism among Black Canadians. It is through this lens which I write this post.