'I Was Unable to Identify with Topsy' - Carrie M. Best's Struggle Against Racial Segregation in Nova Scotia, 1942

Atlantis 22:2 (Spring 1998) 16-26.

11 Pages Posted: 20 May 2013  

Constance B. Backhouse

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: 1998

Abstract

This paper describes a court case that was buried in Canadian legal archives for fifty-six years. In 1942, Carrie Best brought a civil action for damages against a Nova Scotia theatre, claiming that the owners were enforcing a racially-segregated seating policy. The action was ultimately dismissed. Dr. Best, an African-Canadian who was a teacher, journalist, and founder of The Clarion (a newspaper that she began publishing in 1945) had been a long-time advocate for human rights and activist against racial discrimination and segregation in Nova Scotia. Carrie Best's decorated career as a journal and activist is public knowledge, but the history of her unsuccessful litigation calls for scrutiny. Such cases help us understand Canadian history to be deeply marked with racism.

Keywords: Canada, Nova Scotia, racism, segregation, racial, African, civil, action, history, 1900, century, historical, litigation, activist, biography, Carrie, Best, discrimination, activism, advocate, advocacy, archive, legal, law

Suggested Citation

Backhouse, Constance B., 'I Was Unable to Identify with Topsy' - Carrie M. Best's Struggle Against Racial Segregation in Nova Scotia, 1942 (1998). Atlantis 22:2 (Spring 1998) 16-26.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2263419

Constance B. Backhouse (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

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