Black History Month – Violet King

Lisa C. Newcomer Information, Updates

Black History Month is a time that we recognize, honour and celebrate their contributions.

Learn about the history of Black History Month:

Today let’s read about biography of Voilet King, a notable Black individual who helped shape Canadian heritage and identity!

Born in 1929, Violet King was
  • the first Black person to obtain a law degree in Alberta
  • the first Black person admitted to the Alberta Bar.
  • Canada’s first Black female lawyer.
  • the first woman appointed to an executive position in the YMCA in the United States.
King’s education:
  • King attended the University of Alberta in 1948, and out of 142 students, she was one of the only three in the Faculty of Law.
  • In 1951-52, she was elected as class historian and was the 1952 Alberta representative to the International Student Conference in Ontario.
  • In 1953, she was the only woman in her graduating class.
King’s career and achievements:
  • King practiced law in Calgary for several years and gave speeches publicly about racism.
  • In 1963, King moved to New Jersey to become executive director the YMCA’s Community Branch and helped Black applicants seek employment.
  • In 1976, she was appointed executive director of the National Council of YMCA’s Organizational Development Group.
  • In 1998, King was inducted into the National YMCA Hall of Fame.

Violet King’s life consisted of important milestones that broke down barriers for Black people in Canada, particularly because it was extremely difficult to enter the legal profession for all women, especially those who belonged to a racial minority.

Word of the Day:

Biography: life history, history of a person’s life written by another person.