Lincoln Alexander dies at 90

Oct 19, 2012 | News

Former Lt.-Gov. of Ontario, Lincoln Alexander, 90, has died. COURTESY © Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2012.


By Jessy Bains

Ontario’s 24th  Lt.-Gov. Lincoln Alexander is dead. He was 90.

Alexander will lie in state at Queen’s Park for several days and at Hamilton City Hall prior to his funeral.

Alexander was elected as an Member of Parliament for Hamilton West in 1968,  becoming Canada’s first black member of Parliament.

Ontario’s. Lt.-Gov. David Onley called Alexander a “living legend” for fighting racism.

“At a time when racism was endemic in Canadian society, he broke through barriers that treated visible minorities as second-class citizens, strangers in their own land,” Onley said in a statement.

Alexander was born in 1922 in Toronto, where he faced harsh experiences of rasicm.

“Blacks at that time made up a sliver-thin portion of the city’s population, and racial prejudice abounded,” Alexander wrote in his 2006 memoir, Go to School, You’re a Little Black Boy.

After graduating from McMaster University, Alexander went on to study law at Osgoode Hall.

Alexander, the son of West Indian immigrants — his father a railway porter and his mother a maid — served as lieutenant-governor from 1985 to 1991.

Alexander was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1992 and has, among other monuments, a highway and an elementary school named in his honour in Hamilton.

“Lincoln Alexander was a great statesman, an inspiring role model for our students, and a pioneer as Canada’s first black Member of Parliament,” said Tim Simmons, chair of the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty also offered his condolences.

“Lincoln was a towering man, and his stature matched his influence,” McGuinty said in a statement.

Alexander is survived by his second wife Marni and his son Keith and his extended family.  Alexander was predeceased by his first wife, Yvonne Harrison, who died in 1999.

According to his wife, Marni Beal, Lincoln Alexander will have a state funeral sometime next week. The service will be held at Hamilton Place, with room for overflow capacity in Copps Coliseum.