|Member of Parliament
|Preceded by||Mark MacGuigan|
|Succeeded by||riding dissolved|
|Member of Parliament
for Windsor—Lake St. Clair
|Preceded by||first member|
|Succeeded by||Shaughnessy Cohen|
|Born||Howard Douglas McCurdy
December 10, 1932
|Political party||New Democrat|
Life and career
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.