15 February 2016
Canada Post has issued a stamp to honour the black soldiers who served their country during World War One, in the face of prejudice.
Canada Post has issued a stamp to honour the black soldiers who served their country during World War One, in the face of prejudice and segregation.
The stamp features photographs of members of the 2nd Construction Batallion, against a background of the forest environment where they served. It recognises the contribution of the black soldiers who served Canada in World War One, in an age when these soldiers faced prejudice when trying to sign up to serve their country and being turned away. The Batallion was formed in 1916, two years after the outbreak of World War One, because of mounting pressure from black soldiers who were trying to sign up for military service and being turned away.
The men of the 2nd Construction Batallion worked in France during World War One, felling trees then milling them into the lumber that supported the trenches on the Allied front line. It was a hard life, with a working day of ten hours a day, six days a week. The men endured endured segregation as their sleeping quarters were separate from those of white soldiers, as was the hospital wing where they received medical treatment, but they ate meals with white comrades. While most never saw combat, some died from pneumonia or other diseases.
Judy Foote, Minister of Public Services and Procurements, said of the soldiers: ' 'Their determination to serve and their contribution to the war effort were an important step on the journey to racial equality in this county. We are proud to highlight this little-known aspect of Canadians’ participation in that epic conflict.'
Issue date: 1 February 2016
Print process: Lithography
Size: 32mm x 32mm
Design: Lara Minja
To purchase the stamp, visit the Canada Post website.
(Image copyright Canada Post)