Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oscar Peterson

Today some friends and I met at Central Library to see a movie on this famous jazz player.

Although it was a really cold day again today, some of us managed to get there to enjoy this wonderful story of this famous Canadian.

The movie showed footage of his early Montreal days when he lived with his Mom and Dad and siblings in St. Henri which is a working class neighbourhood in Montreal, Quebec.

He was born in August 1925 and died in December of 2007.

His Dad was a sleeping car porter for the railroad which was how he supported his family. At that time, it was very difficult for black people to get work in the 1940's.

His Dad seemed to have had a very powerful influence on Mr. Peterson all the days of his life and just shows what a huge influence parents have on their children.

There were times in this factual story, when I had tears in my eyes as I saw the injustices done to non-white people by discrimination and outright violence.

As a young girl, I can remember travelling in the Southern United States and seeing signs on restaurants which said "Dogs and negroes not allowed". I also remember, while boarding a bus in Washington, D.C. and going for an available back seat, being told by a very nice black man who could see I was not from there, that I was not to sit there.

Even as a very young girl, I felt those injustices done and still find so many prejudices which seperate people from each other, whether it be in faith, creed or colour.

I think what upset me so much was when I saw that Mr. Peterson was turned away from the Ritz Carlton in downtown Montreal due to his colour.

We, in Canada, are not exempt from our prejudices, I am very sad to say.

I would heartedly recomment this picture to anybody who may be interested to learn about a great Canadian musician.

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