Trailblazer: A pioneer, an innovator, a person who makes a new track through wild country forging a path for others to follow

Members of the African Diaspora have been trailblazers throughout history. By recognizing the efforts of some we hope to further educate and instill not only their story but pride in what was achieved and how it influences community moving forward. The four trailblazers featured were selected as the first 4 Persons of African Descent feature on the ‘Legacy Coffee Series’.

William Hall

William Edward Hall VC (28 April 1827 – 27 August 1904) was the first Black person, first Nova Scotian, and third Canadian to receive the Victoria Cross. He received the medal for his actions in the Siege of Lucknow during the Indian Rebellion. Hall and an officer from his ship continued to load and fire a 24-pounder gun at the walls after the rest of the party had been killed or injured by the defenders.

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Rose Fortune

Rose Fortune is one of the most compelling, intriguing figures in Nova Scotian history. Most rumours about her personal history are more conjecture than memory; while some facts exist, details of her private life remain a mystery. 

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Portia White

“Nobody ever told me to sing, I was born singing. I think that if nobody had ever talked to me, I wouldn’t be able to communicate in any other way but by singing. I was always bowing in my dreams and singing before people and parading across the stage as a very little girl”

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Marcus Garvey

Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. born August 17, 1887 and died June 10, 1940, was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL, commonly known as UNIA), Ideologically a black nationalist and Pan-Africanist, his ideas came to be known as Garveyism.

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