This memoir of the Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander traces a remarkable series of events from Alexander’s early life to the present that helped shape the charismatic and influential leader whose impact continues to be felt today. From facing down racism to challenging the postwar Ontario establishment, becoming Canada’s first black member of Parliament, entertaining royalty as Ontario’s lieutenant-governor, and serving as chancellor of one of Canada’s leading universities, Alexander’s is the ultimate, uplifting Canadian success story, the embodiment of what defines Canada. (excerpt from Dundurn Press website).
Dr. Alexander was born in Toronto Jan. 21, 1922, and grew up in Toronto and New York City. Back in Canada at age 20, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. Following the war, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political economics from McMaster University in 1949. He went on to Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the bar in 1953. He was first elected MP for Hamilton West in 1968. During his years in Ottawa, Alexander also served as an observer to the United Nations in 1976 and 1978 and was appointed labour minister by then prime minister Joe Clark in 1979. As U of G’s chancellor, Alexander has conferred degrees on more than 20,000 graduates at convocation. His rapport with students is legendary, and he takes the time to say a few words to every graduate. Three U of G awards carry his name: the Lincoln Alexander Outstanding Leadership Award, the Lincoln Alexander Medal of Distinguished Service and the Lincoln Alexander Chancellor’s Scholarship. Among his many awards, Alexander was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada and to the Order of Ontario in 1992 and in June, he was named the “Greatest Hamiltonian of all Time.” (from UG news release, Nov. 22, 2006)