Black History in Canada, Part Three

In part three of our Black History Month series, I would like to introduce you to Carrie Best.

She was born on March 4, 1903, in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

During the 1940s, Mrs. Best and her son Cal were arrested for sitting downstairs in the whites-only seats at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow. They were charged with disturbing the peace, convicted and fined.

In 1946, Best founded The Clarion, the first Black-owned and published Nova Scotia newspaper. Later, in 1952, her radio show, called The Quiet Corner, went on the air. It was on for 12 years and was broadcast on four radio stations throughout the Maritime Provinces. In 1968, she was hired as a columnist for the Pictou Advocate, a newspaper based in Pictou, Nova Scotia. The column ran until 1975 under the heading of “Human Rights.”

Carrie Best certainly was recognized. She earned, for instance, Member of the Order of Canada in 1974; Awarded the Queen Elizabeth Medal in 1977; Officer of the Order of Canada in 1979; Awarded an honorary doctor of civil laws (DC.L.) from the University of King’s College, Halifax, in 1992; Founded the Kay Livingstone Visible Minority Women’s Society of Nova Scotia in 1975; Inducted into the Nova Scotia Black Wall of Fame in 1980; Received the Harry Jerome Award in 1986; Received the Harambee Membership Plaque in 1987; Received the Black Professional Women’s Group Award Certificate in 1989; Received the Minister’s Award of Excellence in Race Relations—Minister of State for Multiculturalism, in 1990; Received the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission Award in 1991; Received the Town of New Glasgow Award for work in race relations in 1992; Received the Congress of Black Women Certificate in 1993.

Carrie Best died in July 2001 in New Glasgow.


  1. Wasn’t there something in the last few years about her receiving a posthumous pardon or an apology or something for the arrest for sitting in the ‘wrong’ part of the theatre? The situation is ringing a bell, although I could be thinking of someone else.


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