Abraham Beverley Walker, Lawyer, Lecturer, Activist
The book is titled, Abraham Beverley Walker, Lawyer, Lecturer, Activist, and chronicles the life and work, as well as the systemic racism Dr. Walker faced as Canada’s first black lawyer, and first black magazine editor. He was one of eleven children of farming parents but excelled academically studying law at the National University in Washington, D.C., law at the Saint John Law School, as well as philosophy and several languages.
Abraham Walker lived in the last half of the nineteenth century and was born in Kars, New Brunswick but spent his entire professional career (except for a year and a half) in Saint John. After several snubs by the local population and the local barristers association as well, he focused all of his efforts on the civil rights issue and then later on addressing the “negro problem” and it’s solution. He lectured extensively across North America promoting the African Civilization Movement, which advocated for an en-masse migration of learned and talented blacks to Africa, where they would set up a colony under British laws and customs. The eventual aim of the group was to civilize and Christianize the entire population of what was then referred to as the “Dark Continent”.
His magazine, Neith, although itself a partial victim of prejudice, survived barely one year, publishing only five issues. The magazine dealt with race issues (about 40% of its content), history, philosophy, science, art, literature and a variety of other topics, with several prominent contributors. It was highly intellectual publication even by today’s standards.
Despite all of his dreams, intellect and accomplishments, Walker has been relegated to the “dust-bin” of history. This story is unique in that there has not been another written exclusively about him. His magazine gets a two-page mention in Robin Winks, The Blacks in Canada, and little to no mention elsewhere. The author has relied almost exclusively on Walker’s surviving newspaper columns, pamphlets and lectures.
Abraham Walker was a devout Christian and his message bears a striking resemblance to that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who followed in his footsteps fifty years later
The book is titled, Abraham Beverley Walker, Lawyer, Lecturer, Activist, and chronicles the life and work, as well as the systemic racism Dr. Walker faced as Canada’s first black lawyer, and first black magazine editor.
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