By RON FANFAIR
Late Canadian track star Harry Jerome, who, in the summer of 1962 ran the 100 yards in 9.2 seconds to equal the world record set by Bob Hayes and Frank Rudd earlier that year, is set to become a “Person of National Historical Significance” in Canada.
The honour will be conferred at a ceremony on Saturday at the Harry Jerome statue located on the Stanley Park seawall in Vancouver, B.C. The Canadian landmark will also be named in his honour.
“This is quite an honour and it’s unfortunate that he’s no longer with us to enjoy it,” said Jerome’s longtime friend Paul Winn, a Vancouver businessman and lawyer.
Winn will represent the Jerome family at the ceremony.
“The statue is located right near Brockton Oval where we spent many hours training,” he said. “Whenever I go by that landmark which is about a 25-minute drive from my home, I reflect a lot on the things we did and the many good times we had together.”
Created in 1919, Canada’s Historic Sites and Monuments Board advises the Minister of the Environment about the national historical significance of persons, places and events that have marked Canada’s history. The placement of a commemorative plaque represents an official recognition of their historical value to the country.
Other famous Black inductees are Mary Ann Shadd, Thornton and Lucie Blackburn, Henry and Mary Bibb and Harriet Tubman.
Jerome is also immortalized by the multi-sport Harry Jerome Recreation Centre in North Vancouver and the Harry Jerome awards administered by the Black Business and Professional Association in Toronto.
A feature length documentary, Harry Jerome, is set to be released this summer. It will focus on his athletic career from the time he equaled Percy Williams’ national high school record with a 10-second run in the 100-yard dash in March 1959 to his last official race in August 1969 when he defended his Canadian title, clocking 10.5 seconds over 100 metres.
“We are in the editing stage,” said Vancouver-based National Film Board producer, Selwyn Jacob. “We might take a camera to Saturday’s event because you never know where something might fit into the story we are putting together.”
Charles Officer is the documentary’s director.