Black History Month

Leonard Braithwaite (L.B) was raised in the Kensington Market area of Toronto during the depression and served in the RCAF in WW2. After the war, he attended the University of Toronto and earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He then attended the Harvard school of business, where he earned a Master of Business Administration in 1952 and graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1958. He was the first black lawyer elected as a member of the governing council of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Braithwaite became the first African Canadian in a provincial legislature when he was elected in Ontario 1963. He served as a liberal member of the Ontario legislature from 1963 – 1975. In his first speech to the legislature, he spoke out against racial segregation in Ontario schools. Soon after, the Ontario government repealed the law that allowed school segregation.Braithwaite began his political career in 1960 as a member of the Etobicoke board of education. Two years later he was elected as an alderman on the Etobicoke City Council and ran in the provincial election in 1963, defeating the Progressive Conservative Candidate. He was re-elected in 1967 and 1971, serving as the Liberal Party critic for Labour and Welfare. As a politician, he fought for gender equality and rights for minorities. In 1998, he served as a member of the Order of Canada and 2004 Order of Ontario.

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