Ferguson “Fergie” Arthur Jenkins

We wanted to share some local resources for exploring Black heritage and notable community members. Check out these virtual collections!

Ferguson “Fergie” Arthur Jenkins is a Canadian former professional baseball pitcher who played Major League Baseball (MLB). Jenkins was born in Chatham, Ontario in 1942.He started his major league career with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1965, going on to pitch for the Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox. He played the majority of his career for the Chicago Cubs and retired while with the Cubs in 1983. With 284 career wins, Jenkins has the most wins by a Black pitcher in major league history. He was the first Canadian to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, the first Canadian to with the Cy Yound Award, and was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1979. In February of 2011, Canada Post issued a postage stamp honouring Jenkins for Black History Month.

Jenkins is well known for his baseball career and he is also a great supporter of humanitarian efforts through sports. The Fergie Jenkins Foundation was formed in 1999 and supports a long list of charities and fundraisers in North America. There is a Fergie Jenkins Museum through the Foundation, located in St. Catharines, ON. The Museum supports Black History and explores Jenkins’ career moments. You can take a virtual tour of the Black History Museum on the Fergie Jenkins Foundation website: http://www.fergiejenkins.ca/site/home

Norval Freeman Johnson was born at the turn of the century and was a valued member of her Niagara Falls community. She was a dedicated volunteer and member of the Cancer Society of Niagara. Johnson taught music and directed the Sunday School Choir at the Nathaniel Dett Memorial Chapel in Niagara Falls – which is a designated National Historic Site on the Underground Railroad. She single-handedly kept the Church in operation at times during its history.

Named in her honour, the Norval Johnson Heritage Library was opened next door to the Nathaniel Dett Memorial Chapel in March of 1991. The Library holds over 1,500 volumes on Black-Canadian History. The collection was re-located to the St. Catharines Public Library in 2009 and is accessible to the public through appointment, with the contents of the collection listed online at https://www.myscpl.ca/index.php/local-history/norval-johnson. There is also a virtual collection online titled “Remembering Niagara’s Proud Black History” which provides photographs, original documents, and stories on local notable people. The online collection can be accessed here: https://www.communitystories.ca/v1/pm_v2.php?id=story_line_index&fl=0&lg=English&ex=659&pos=1.

Did you know there is an Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) dedicated to the study, preservation and promotion of Black history and heritage in Ontario? The OBHS, established in 1978, is a non-profit registered Canadian charity currently working to build a Black History Museum in Toronto. The OBHS offers scholarships, lectures on Black History, and looks to celebrate Black heritage. One of their most recent campaigns focuses on the minimal amount of Black History found in Canadian history textbooks. If you are looking for historical background, educational resources, or information on membership you can find it on their website: https://blackhistorysociety.ca/