Local Civil Rights Activist Passes Away


A former MP, University of Windsor professor and local civil rights activist has passed away.

Howard McCurdy died Tuesday night at the age of 85.

His daughter Leslie McCurdy says her father had been struggling to breathe and has had multiple myeloma for a couple of years which spread to lung cancer.

She says he passed peacefully.

She remembers her father like "Canada's Martin Luther King".

"He was the first black tenured professor in Canada, the first black head of the department head in Canada, and all these things that he accomplished, I remember looking like him like Canada's Martin Luther King," she says.

She points out when McCurdy was a teenager, he worked at a bowling alley that he couldn't bowl at which he fought to change.

"Growing up with my dad, he had high expectations for all of us because he lived up to expectations that were very high himself."

In 1962 he founded the Guardian Club, a civil rights organization to fight racial discrimination in Windsor.

In 1969 he was a founder and the first President of the National Black Coalition of Canada.

In  1980, he was elected alderman for the City of Windsor and then became and NDP MP for the riding of Windsor-Walkerville.

He was Canada's second black MP.

He was also a member of the Order of Ontario and Order of Canada.

--With files from AM800's Patty Handysides