Previously published in Examiner
Part 2 of the Sir George Williams Affair Series
One of the most devastating tolls on mental health today is the nasty business of racism. Prejudice and racism eats at the very heart of the soul. These prevailing societal attitudes not only cripple an individual emotionally, but cripple and entire society. Racism prevents people from having a good job, a good education, proper housing and so on. Individuals subjected to racism feel inferior, or cheated out of what is due to them, or lash out in anger, they become a product of an unjust society and they pay the consequences for it as well.
The Sir George Williams Affair in Montreal continued
The situation became explosive on February 11, 1969, when the students met head to head with the police. The peaceful sit in became a full-fledged riot and the computer center was destroyed. The student’s records were destroyed and the computers were thrown out the windows of the university.
The Sir George Williams Affair was the biggest student riot in Canadian history resulting in injured students and police officers alike, jail sentences for some of the students, and millions of dollars in damage to the University. The biology professor, Dr. Perry Anderson, whose grading system provoked the affair had not been charged with any wrongful doing.
What became of the Black Students involved in The Sir George Williams Affair?
Roosevelt Douglas was one of the leaders of the Computer Center Riot, at least that title was pinned on him. Douglas was not a student from Sir George Williams University. He was a graduate from McGill University at the time. Because of this, he was labeled the ringleader and served two years in prison for his participation in the riot.
After he served his time he no doubt had a criminal record and labeled a terrorist threat. Douglas was deported back to Dominica, his homeland, in 1975. He vowed that he would never set foot back onto university premises until he became prime minister. Roosevelt Douglas kept his promise. He became the Prime Minister of his country, the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica with a population of only 70,000.
Time heals all wounds or so they say. Roosevelt Douglas came back to Concordia University (formerly Sir George Williams University) as a guest speaker invited to talk about the Sir George Williams Affair in 2001. He died in October of 2008.