Lincoln Alexander was Canada’s first black member of Parliament, elected in 1968. The Ontario Lieutenant-Governor just passed away last week at age 90. Described as a “Living Legend,” Alexander, a.k.a. “Linc”, served as a wireless operator with the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII, from 1942 until 1945. Alexander overcame racism and prejudice in Canada during the country’s most highly racial eras.
Alexander was born in Toronto in 1922. He is of West Indian ancestry. After obtaining his degree from McMaster University and completing his service in the Air Force, Alexander applied for a sales job with the Stelco steel company. He was given a racial snub, with the excuse that no one would want to buy from a black man.
Driven to law school after coming face-to-face with prejudice, he graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1953. A break came in 1968 when he was elected to Parliament and re-elected in three consecutive elections. Alexander was also Canada’s first black cabinet minister when he worked in the House of Commons from 1979-80. During his tenures in office, he received constant threats and racist correspondence, but this did not sway him from doing his job.
“Linc” was known for his fun-loving attitude with children, and might have been the life of the party of the children’s area at Toronto’s Lieutenant Governor’s Games. He was often seen on his motorized scooter.
The Lietuenant Governor worked as chancellor at the University of Guelph for five terms, which made him the longest-serving Chancellor in the school's history.
Alexander will receive a provincial state funeral, which hadn’t been done since 1982. He is survived by his wife, Mami Beal, whom he married last year, his son Keith and his two granddaughters.