Honorary doctorate for ‘living cultural, historical resource’


Brock University will bestow an honorary doctorate on prominent African-Canadian community worker and curator Wilma Morrison for her significant contributions in promoting and preserving Black history.

The living cultural and historical resource will be conferred with the honour on June 10.

Morrison is a founding member of the Brock/Niagara African Renaissance Group comprising Brock faculty staff and students and community members whose goal is to enliven community and university research alliance and contribute to the ongoing cultural development of African-Canadian heritage at the university and in the Niagara region.

The octogenarian has also been actively involved in the annual planning of African Heritage Month events at Brock and she has hosted many student groups at the Nathaniel Dett Chapel.

Morrison played a key role in helping to rescue the chapel built in 1836, saving it from destruction and having it officially designated as a national historic site in 2000. The chapel was named for the renowned musical composer and educator who was born in what was then known as Drummondville (now Niagara Falls) and who played at, among other places, Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, the Library of Congress, the Philadelphia Academy of Music and before American presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Morrison also created the Norval Johnson Heritage Library which, along with the chapel, are important tourist attractions. The library houses almost 1,600 volumes related to Black history and is a research centre for students and educators interested in African-Canadian history or their own genealogical background.

Over the years, Morrison has been rewarded with many accolades. They include the George Siebel award for the preservation of Black History in Niagara and the J.S. Woodsworth award administered by Ontario’s New Democratic Party.



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