Howard McCurdy

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For the professor of public affairs, see Howard E. McCurdy.
Howard McCurdy
Howard mccurdy.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Windsor—Walkerville
In office
Preceded by Mark MacGuigan
Succeeded by riding dissolved
Member of Parliament
for Windsor—Lake St. Clair
In office
Preceded by first member
Succeeded by Shaughnessy Cohen
Personal details
Born (1932-12-10) December 10, 1932 (age 82)
London, Ontario
Political party New Democrat
Residence Windsor, Ontario
Profession biochemist, professor

Howard Douglas McCurdy, OOnt (born December 10, 1932) is a retired Canadian civil rights activist, politician and university professor.

Born in London, Ontario, McCurdy studied at the University of Western Ontario, where he received a Bachelor of Arts, and later at Assumption University, where he received a Bachelor of Science. He was awarded a Master of Science and a Ph.D. in microbiology and chemistry from Michigan State University. McCurdy has also served for a time as Michigan State University's president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) which he founded.

In 1959 he joined the Biology Department at Assumption College (later the university of Windsor) and became first of African descent to hold a tenure track position in a Canadian university. He was Department Head from 1974 to 1979. In 1976–1980 he founded and was President of the Canadian College of Microbiologists. McCurdy authored over fifty scientific papers and served on editorial boards Bacteriological Reviews and Canadian Journal of microbiology. In 1967–68 he was President of the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

In 1962 he founded the Guardian Club a civil rights organization to fight racial discrimination in Windsor. In 1969 was a founder and first President of National Black Coalition of Canada

McCurdy's speech at founding convention is credited with choosing the name New Democratic Party. In !980 he was elected alderman in city of Windsor and served until elected as the New Democratic MP for riding of Windsor Walkerville in the federal election of 1984 to become Canada' second black MP In the 1988 election he was reelected in the renamed riding of Windsor— St. Clair, where he served until his defeat in the 1993 federal election. He was also a candidate for the party leadership in the 1989 leadership convention which selected Audrey McLaughlin.

McCurdy campaigned for the Ontario New Democratic Party nomination in Windsor—Sandwich in the buildup to the 1995 provincial election, but was unexpectedly defeated by Arlene Rousseau. McCurdy had been endorsed by Premier Bob Rae, while Rousseau was an ally of party dissidents such as Peter Kormos.

In 2003, he supported Bill Blaikie's campaign for NDP leader.


McCurdy has received many awards, including the Canadian Centennial Medal in 1967, the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977, and in 2001 the J. S. Woodsworth Award for Human Rights.[1]

In 2012, McCurdy was made a member of the Order of Ontario.[2]


  1. ^ Keith A. P. Sandiford, A Black Studies Primer: Heroes and Heroines of the African Diaspora, Hansib Publications, 2008, p. 304.
  2. ^ "27 Appointees Named To Ontario's Highest Honour". 

In 2013, McCurdy was made a member of the Order of Canada.

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