So I’m still working on Black Canadian History even though it’s March. I’m still working on a piece about Windsor, ON which is tough because the overarching story is the Underground Railroad which is something you (should) already know. I want to give a rounded picture of Windsor which is very rich in history beyond the railroad so it’s taking me forever to get it just right.
So I’m defaulting to my home town because that’s my jam. I wanna tell you about Mr. Jones. Burnley Allan Jones was born in the 40's in a shitty little town called Truro which was segregated. Now, part of telling you Rocky’s story is also sharing the racist underbelly of Nova Scotia (and by extension Canada) itself. Despite this I hope you enjoy Rocky’s story.
The impact of racism struck Rocky in his adolescence when he wasn’t allowed to join his (white) friends to play pool. Eventually Rocky broke down that barrier and the owner allowed him to join. At that point he realized that he could effect change.
After a stint in the army he moved to Toronto in the sixites. At one point there was a protest outside of the American Consulate demanding the right for Blacks to vote in Alabama and he joined the protest and was interveiwed by some tv station. He spoke about Black rights. The media compared him to Kwame Ture and Rocky soon adopted Ture’s “Black Power” stance. This all lead to him being flagged by the RCMP and they began tracking him using every surveillance trick in the book. At one point Ture and Jones met in Montreal and Jones invited him to come to NS for visit. Can you guess what happened next? Hmmm.....
Ture arrived in Halifax airport with his wife Miriam Makeba (AHHHH she was in my home city!!! I die. I die.) and those damn cops showed up to the airport too (Did they not know MIRIAM MAKEBA?! Fucking tools) and followed Jones, Ture and Makeba during the visit and return to the airport.
Jones invited a delegate of the Panther Party on another occasion with the same result. And the same response, it made the RCMP and local police very uncomfortable.
I’ve failed to mention that Rocky was a lawyer. He worked with Indigenous communities dealing with issues aroung land claims, education, and the environment. He also established a program at Dalhousie University (that exists today and in fact one of my cousins was in that program) which is a one year program aimed at assisting indigenous and Black students to transition into University.
He was a co-founder of the Black United Front of Nova Scotia.
He also established the Black Inmates Association to advocate for prisonsers.
Sidenote: I went to school with Rocky’s daughter and I met Makeba’s daughter. Ha. Okay enough name dropping check the links becuase there is so much more Rocky did in his life time that can be felt today. Rocky passed away back in 2013.