Sunday, December 11, 2011

Judge Stanley G. Grizzle

Judge Stanley G. Grizzle
Judge Stanley G. Grizzle
By Francine Buchner

Judge Stanley G. Grizzle became Canada’s first black Citizenship Court Judge and  became Ontario’s first black Ministry of Labour employee, notwithstanding being black and living in a racist City of Toronto in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Canadian-born Stanley G. Grizzle was a war veteran, a Sleeping Car Porter, a student at King Edward Public School and a member of the College Street United Church.
“Because in those days Black people lived south of College Street, down to King Street and all the White people lived North of us – Anglican Church, United Church,” said Judge Stanley G. Grizzle. Grizzle was born at Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto in November 1918.

Discipline mattered to my father, said Grizzle. Admitting that the action alone of his father taking his belt off his waist was enough to bring him to tears (most times the lash was never needed). “So I became Canada’s first Black judge. Who do I thank, my parents. They raised me right,” said Grizzle.

By the early 1950’s Grizzle became a member of Canada’s Joint Labour Committee to Combat Racial Intolerance and he was a member of the Labour Committee for Human Rights organized by the Jewish community. He led groups that met with provincial and federal government officials to discuss antidiscrimination legislation. Grizzle left his job with the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and went to work as a Labour Relations Officer with the Canadian provincial government. 

At the age of 58 Stanley Grizzle received a letter from the Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau appointing him Citizenship Court Judge

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