Lincoln Alexander

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The Honourable
Lincoln Alexander
24th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
In office
September 20, 1985 – December 10, 1991
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Jeanne Sauvé
Ray Hnatyshyn
Premier David Peterson
Bob Rae
Preceded by John Black Aird
Succeeded by Hal Jackman
Minister of Labour
In office
June 4, 1979 – March 2, 1980
Prime Minister Joe Clark
Preceded by Martin O'Connell
Succeeded by Gerald Regan
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Hamilton West
In office
June 25, 1968 – May 28, 1980
Preceded by Joseph Macaluso
Succeeded by Stanley Hudecki
Constituency Hamilton West
Personal details
Born Lincoln MacCauley Alexander
(1922-01-21)January 21, 1922
Toronto, Ontario
Died October 19, 2012(2012-10-19) (aged 90)
Hamilton, Ontario
Political party Progressive Conservative
Spouse(s) Yvonne Harrison (1948–1999, her death)
Marni Beal (2011–2012)[1]
Children Keith Alexander[1]
Residence Hamilton, Ontario
Occupation Barrister and solicitor
Religion Baptist

Lincoln MacCauley Alexander, PC CC OOnt CD QC (January 21, 1922 – October 19, 2012) was a Canadian politician and statesman who served as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons, the federal Minister of Labour, and later as the 24th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, from 1985 to 1991. Alexander was also a governor of the Canadian Unity Council.

Early life[edit]

Alexander was born in a row house on Draper Street[2] in Toronto, Ontario, to Mae Rose, who migrated from Jamaica, and Lincoln Alexander, Sr., a porter on the Canadian Pacific Railway who came to Canada from St. Vincent and the Grenadines.[3][4] Alexander went to Earl Grey Public School and Riverdale Collegiate.[3] As a teen Alexander moved to Harlem with his older half-brother Ridley and his mother after she was the victim of a violent altercation with his father.[3] In New York he went to DeWitt Clinton High School, but returned to Canada in 1939.[3] He first distinguished himself in service to Canada in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. After the war Alexander completed his studies at Hamilton Central Collegiate and then to McMaster University in 1946 to study economics and history.[3] Alexander graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto in 1953.[5] He then practiced law in Hamilton with the firms Okuloski & Okuloski; Duncan & Alexander; and Millar, Alexander, Tokiwa & Issacs.


In 1968, Alexander ran in the Canadian federal election as the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada candidate in the Hamilton West electoral district. He won, becoming Canada's first black Member of Parliament. He held the seat through four successive elections until stepping down in 1980.[6]

While in office, he spoke to the press about then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's alleged profanity in the fuddle duddle incident and was an observer to the United Nations in 1976 and 1978. In the brief government headed by Joe Clark from 1979 to 1980, Alexander served as Minister of Labour. He resigned his seat in 1980 to serve as chairman of the Ontario Worker's Compensation Board.

Viceregal service[edit]

In 1985, on the advice of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Governor General Jeanne Sauvé appointed Alexander as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. He became the first black person to serve in a viceregal position in Canada. (James Douglas, who was of mixed descent, was Governor of Vancouver Island and of British Columbia prior to Canadian Confederation when these were British colonies with no connection to the Canadas.) During his appointment, he focused attention on education, racism and youth issues.[3]

Later life and death[edit]

The funeral procession for the state funeral of the Honorable Lincoln Alexander on October 26, 2012 in Hamilton

In 1992, Alexander was appointed to the Order of Ontario. He also became a Companion of the Order of Canada. From 1991 to 2007, he served as Chancellor of the University of Guelph. His term exceeded that of any of his predecessors, and he assumed the office of Chancellor Emeritus.

In 2000, Alexander was named Chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, where he remained an active spokesman on race relations and veterans' issues. Until the time of his death, he was the Honorary Patron of the Hamilton, Ontario branch of St. John Ambulance, as well as Honorary Chief of the Hamilton Police Service.

In November 2006, his autobiography Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy: The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander: A Memoir was published.[7]

Alexander died in his sleep on the morning of October 19, 2012, at the age of 90.[8] The national and provincial flags outside the Ontario Legislative Building were flown at half-mast and tributes were given by various viceroys and politicians.[8][9][10] His body lay in state, first inside the Ontario Legislative Building at Queen's Park, followed by Hamilton City Hall.[8][11] He is survived by his son Keith Lincoln Alexander from his marriage to his first wife Yvonne Harrison (predeceased in 1999).[1] Also survived by daughter-in-law Joyce Alexander and grandchildren Erika and Marissa Alexander, and second-wife Marni Beal. [12]

Alexander was accorded a state funeral with the co-operation of thousands of officials, both Provincial and Federal, and Police Services across Canada, featuring the Burlington Teen Tour Band and Police Pipe and Drum band, and was conducted at Hamilton Place and attended by 1,500 people including the Mayor of Hamilton Bob Bratina, former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, current Premier Kathleen Wynne, former Premier David Peterson, Governor General David Johnston, former Governor General Michaëlle Jean, former lieutenant governor Hillary Weston, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, former Prime Minister Joe Clark and federal cabinet minister Julian Fantino, His Honour David Onley, current lieutenant governor of Ontario and Dr. Alastair Summerlee, President of the University of Guelph, and Dr. Peter George, former President of MacMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Also attending were the Chairman of the Raptors Foundation and publisher of the daily Hamilton newspaper, The Spectator. [13][14]The Province of Ontario proclaimed January 21. as Lincoln Alexander Day in Ontario. It became law in December 2013. As of December 3, 2014, Lincoln Alexander Day January 21, Lincoln's birthday, is now recognized officially as Lincoln Alexander Day across Canada, with Royal Assent by the Governor General December 9, 2014.

Titles, styles, honours, and arms[edit]


Viceregal styles of
Lincoln MacCauley Alexander
Badge of the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario.svg
Reference style His Honour the Honourable
Spoken style Your Honour
Alternative style Sir
  • January 21, 1922 – June 4, 1979: Mister Lincoln MacCauley Alexander
  • June 4, 1979 – September 20, 1985: The Honourable Lincoln MacCauley Alexander
  • September 20, 1985 – December 10, 1991: His Honour the Honourable Lincoln MacCauley Alexander
  • December 10, 1991 – October 19, 2012: The Honourable Lincoln MacCauley Alexander



Lincoln Alexander Day (across Canada) act passed into law December 3, 2014.

Ribbon bars of Lincoln Alexander

Honorary Degrees

Lincoln Alexander Received Honorary Degrees from Numerous Universities Including

Honorific eponyms[edit]

Roads, highways, and bridges
  • Ontario Ontario: 876 Lincoln Alexander Royal Canadian Air Cadets Squadron
  • Ontario Ontario: Lincoln M. Alexander Building, 777 Memorial Ave, Orillia, OPP headquarters


Arms of Lincoln Alexander
Lincoln Alexander Arms.svg
The arms of Lincoln Alexander consist of:[22]
Above a helmet mantled Azure doubled Argent on a wreath Argent and Azure a demi-lion Azure wearing a coronet rimmed Or heightened with trillium flowers Argent seeded Or and charged on the shoulder with a mullet Argent holding in the dexter forepaw scales of justice Or.
Argent above two bars wavy Azure in base a lion rampant Sable armed and langued Azure charged on the shoulder with a trillium flower Argent seeded Or.
Dexter a lion Sable armed and langued Azure semé of trillium flowers Argent seeded Or winged Bleu Celeste gorged with a collar Argent charged with palm fronds Vert sinister a bear Sable armed and langued Azure winged Bleu Celeste, gorged with a collar Argent pendant therefrom a pomme bordered Argent displaying the badge of the House of Commons of Canada proper.
A grassy mound Vert strewn with palm fronds and breadfruit leaves Or rising above water Azure crested Argent.
Confidence Determination and Perseverance


  1. ^ a b c Criger, Erin (October 19, 2012). "Former Ontario Lt.-Gov. Lincoln Alexander dies at 90". CityNews. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  2. ^ White, Madeleine. "Home of the Week: Refurbished, repaired, renewed". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Martin, Sandra (October 19, 2012). "Obituary: Former lieutenant-governor took discrimination as personal challenge". Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 27, 2012. 
  4. ^ Wells, John (October 20, 2012). "A life well lived: Linc exits the stage at 90". The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  5. ^ York University "York University's Osgoode Hall Law School Alumni Association honours three outstanding members of the legal profession" Check |url= scheme (help). York University. 3 April 1997. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  6. ^ Wells, Jon (October 20, 2012). "Lincoln Alexander dies at 90". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  7. ^ Alexander, Lincoln; Shoveller, Herb (2006). Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy. Toronto: Dundurn. 
  8. ^ a b c CBC News (October 19, 2012). "Lincoln Alexander, Canada's 1st black MP, dies". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  9. ^ Babbage, Maria (October 19, 2012). "Lincoln Alexander dies at 90". Toronto Star. Canadian Press. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Canada's first black MP, Lincoln Alexander, dies at 90". CTV News. Canadian Press. October 19, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  11. ^ Associated Press, WP (October 20, 2012). "State funeral planned for Lincoln Alexander, Canada’s first black member of <Parliament". The Washington Post. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Erika Alexander remembers her grandfather Lincoln". Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  13. ^ Humphrys, Adrian (October 27, 2012). "State funeral honours former Ontario lieutenant governor Lincoln Alexander’s ‘life of firsts’". National Post. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  14. ^ Coyle, Jim (October 27, 2012). "Lincoln Alexander: Hundreds line streets for state funeral". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 27, 2012. 
  15. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. Order of Canada citation. Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 24 May 2010
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Lincoln M. Alexander Award". Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  22. ^ Canadian Heraldic Authority (Volume II), Ottawa, 1992 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Edmund Bovey
Chancellor of the University of Guelph
1991-June 2007
Succeeded by
Pamela Wallin