Howard McCurdy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the professor of public affairs, see Howard E. McCurdy.
Howard McCurdy
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 Howard Douglas McCurdy
(1932-12-10) December 10, 1932 (age 84)
London, Ontario
Political party New Democrat
Residence Windsor, Ontario
Profession biochemist, professor

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

Life and career[edit]

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 the first person of African descent to hold a tenure track position in a Canadian university. He was Department Head from 1974 to 1979. In 1976–80 he founded and was President of the Canadian College of Microbiologists. McCurdy authored more than 50 scientific papers and served on the editorial boards of Bacteriological Reviews and the 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 he was a founder and the first President of the National Black Coalition of Canada.

McCurdy's speech at the founding convention is credited with choosing the name New Democratic Party. In 1980 he was elected alderman in the city of Windsor and served until elected as the New Democratic MP for the 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 build-up 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, McCurdy 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]

In November 2012, McCurdy was designated a Member of the Order of Canada.[3]


  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". Ontario. January 20, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Howard McCurdy, C.M., O.Ont., Ph.D.". The Governor General of Canada. November 19, 2012. 

External links[edit]