Presentation on theme: "Oklahoma Blacks in Alberta. In 1907, the Indian Territory in the USA became the state of Oklahoma Oklahoma was a state that was under the horrible Jim."— Presentation transcript:
In 1907, the Indian Territory in the USA became the state of Oklahoma Oklahoma was a state that was under the horrible Jim Crow laws. Before long, Oklahoma fell under the influence of the KKK and were unable to vote. The settlers turned to the Canadian Prairies and Alberta to seek refuge. The pioneers believed that coming to Canada would give them a far better life. They were attracted to the prairies because of the cheap land that they could receive.
In approximately 1898, the Government of Canada changed its immigration policies to urge settlement on the prairies and forests of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Newspaper articles and advertisements encouraged American farmers to settle in Canada. However, they only wanted white settlers. A small amount of black settlers arrived. Henry Sneed returned to Oklahoma to recruit more black settlers. His group arrived in 1911.
The Black immigrants were subjected to a battery of medical, literacy, character and financial examinations that were not given to other incoming groups. The black immigrants heard about these through the underground black press and came prepared. They were healthy Americans with sufficient property and money, so the existing regulations could not keep them out.
The settlers had many skills when they left the United States and the skills varied a large amount. Some of these skills were farmers, to teachers, doctors, nurses, ministers and businessmen. The families began to farm to seek claim to the landownership that was given to them by the government.
With the black population growing frequently in the prairies, more and more of the land was being occupied by the new pioneers. At the same time, many white Northern Europeans were also settling in the Alberta. With White Southerners and White Europeans mixed with the new black settlers, ‘plain racism arose.’ The blacks were beginning to see a repeat of the kind of treatment that they had received in the southern states for so long and thought that would be eliminated when they moved north to Canada.
The whites sent a message to Ottawa ‘Keep our Land White’ Laurier and the Liberal government led a campaign that prohibited black immigration for one year. The campaign was designed to win the trust of Prairie whites.
The black pioneers had a very large impact on the economy out in the prairie provinces. It is said that five or six generations have now been passed on since the first pioneers from Oklahoma came to the prairies. Many of these families that had generations before them as settlers in the prairies are still living in areas throughout all three of the provinces.
Some of the blacks that live in these areas are very proud of what their grandparents and great grandparents were able to accomplish. Without the hard work of their fore parents, the blacks that live in the provinces today would never have been given the peaceful and enjoyable life that they are able to live.