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Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Oral Histories

The Black Pioneer Descendants' Society and the Heritage Community Foundation are proud to present this series of oral history interviews, conducted by members of the Black Cultural Research Society between 1973 and 1986. These interviews provide historical accounts of Black migration to Alberta, life on the prairies, and the building of western Canada. Also included are some musical interludes.

Below are links to various audio (MP3) files about Alberta's Black pioneers.

Oral History Interviews

John Bell Bowden
Interviewed by Velma Leffler Carter, 8 May 1973.
John Bell Bowden provides a personal account of moving and working in Alberta. He describes the activities of the Liberty Protection Society.
(Running Time: 1:51:48)

Mr. B. Boyd
Interviewed by Alois Holland.
B. Boyd describes his younger years attending school, playing football, and later coaching football. He worked a variety of jobs and became involved in the music scene, playing bass guitar. He describes his eventual career as a draftsman.
(Running Time: 11:09)

E.A. Cobbs (son of Jock Cobbs)
Interviewed March 1986.
E.A. Cobbs provides a historical account of Black migration to Alberta, including Baptist church activities, working on the prairies, and overcoming discrimination.
(Running Time: 28:48)

Mr. J. Pharr
J. Pharr describes his arrival in Alberta and the process of homesteading. He also emphasizes the importance of community initiatives and teamwork. Religion is also discussed.
(Running Time: 40:52)

Musical Interludes

Father's Day Music Rehearsal
16 June 1985.
LeVero Carter, Jodi Carter, and Byron Leffler rehearse a musical performance for an upcoming Father's Day celebration. Songs include Do Not Pass Me By, Oh Happy Day, and Father Me.
(Running Time: 11:43)

Songs recorded at City Hall by the Black Pioneer Heritage Singers:

I Don't Know What I'd Do Without The Lord
Traditional song using call and answer techniques.
(Running Time: 7:02)

Recording 2
A Gospel song sung by the men of the Black Pioneer Heritage Singers.
(Running Time: 5:47)

Rise Up And Walk
This song features rhythmic clapping, a background choir, and a male lead singer.
(Running Time: 4:46)

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