Black Activist, Black Scientist, Black Icon The Autobiography of Dr. Howard D. McCurdy


The long-overdue biography of one of Canada’s most iconic Black politicians and activists, written with the country’s former Parliamentary Poet Laureate.

“Dr. Howard McCurdy is the author of this autobiography. Period,” writes George Elliott Clarke in the introduction to Black Activist, Black Scientist, Black Icon. “But in July 2017, seven months before his decease, he requested that I edit this work, which was already progressing toward a conclusion.”

McCurdy passed away in February 2018, and with the encouragement of McCurdy’s widow, Clarke took on the challenge of editing and completing the memoir. Fortunately, says Clarke, “The man can write, good people!… Howard delighted in the extemporaneous peroration, which, issuing in electrifying combustion out of heart and head, had audiences…presenting standing ovations so often that their chair seats never had a chance to warm.”

McCurdy indeed lived an extraordinary life. He was Canada’s first Black tenured professor; a founder of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association; a founder of the National Black Coalition of Canada; the person who named the New Democratic Party; the second Black elected to Parliament.

With twenty-five photos from McCurdy’s personal archive, Black Activist, Black Scientist, Black Icon illuminates and celebrates the life of one of Canada’s most worthy figures.

Says Clarke: “Dr. Howard McCurdy was exemplary in self-sacrifice; he was stellar in avant-garde thought and vision; he was…the most unforgettably proud Black man that I ever had the pleasure to know.”