Posted in Did you know?, Stigma Talks, video

Sir George Williams Riot

Concordia professor Clarence Bayne (left), director Mina Shum and producer Selwyn Jacob across the street from the Henry F. Hall Building of Concordia University. (National Film Board of Canada photo.)
Concordia professor Clarence Bayne (left), director Mina Shum and producer Selwyn Jacob across the street from the Henry F. Hall Building of Concordia University. (National Film Board of Canada photo.)


On this day, January 15,  Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, the “Ninth Floor” will be shown at le Cinéma du Parc tonight in Montréal. It is a documentary on the events that took place at Sir George Williams University (now part of Concordia University) in 1969.   

 I was going to O’Sullivan Business College, just a few blocks away at the time. I remember the computer stand-off.  I was boarding  at my aunt’s in Montreal at the time, and still a very naïve small town girl.  I was uneasy speaking English in public at that time for tension was mounting with the Separatist movement and later on was the October Crisis with the FLQ (Federation Liberation du Québec).  I remember tucking away the Montreal Star in my bag when traveling on public transit to avoid any possible confrontation.

In the spring of 1968, six Black Caribbean students at Sir George Williams  accused a biology lecturer of racism complaining the teacher was handing out failing grades to all his Black students, regardless of the quality of their work. (Credits: Black History Canada

I remember my family telling me not to walk by the Henry Hall building on boulevard de Maisonneuve, in case there would be riots.  And there was a riot!

Reading more about the events back then, today I shake my head in disgust at how our city, our province and our country mistreated students standing up for justice.  It IS fitting that this film be viewed tonight.  It shows events never seen or reported (so much was distorted) to the public of the largest student uprising in Canadian history, the Sir George Williams Computer Riot, February 11, 1969. February, which is also Black History month…interesting how history plays out.

Read more here:

Concordia University Archives

Nouveau Cinéma, Ninth Floor

The Montreal Gazette

Mostly Movies

Rosie Douglas





A little bit about moi: I am a mom, a nana, a sister, a woman, a friend, a human being…a youth counsellor, Family Life Educator. I have been working in the helping profession for over 25 years and volunteered in various capacities from youths to seniors. Tournesol is my nom de plume for haiku and other Japanese form poetry here at Tournesoldansunjardin I hope you enjoy reading through my daily waka. I also have another blog "Stop the Stigma" where I may stand on my soapbox now and then and hope it will become a place to drop in and share or comment on issues important to you. In that vein this could be a great way to learn from each other. Namaste!

5 thoughts on “Sir George Williams Riot

    1. This is the campus where I returned to in the 80`s to get my degree. I remember imagining myself, back then, walking nearby and getting a computer (they were huge then) thrown on my head. Of course that was the media hype. I remember my aunt who read only French newspapers telling me stories that had nothing to do with reality. I’m glad they made this documentary…finally!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A bit like the stories that people who weren’t there were passing around about the 1970 Atlanta International Pop Festival. There was no reality in them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Even people who were there probably argue with each other! I remember when I was volunteering at the First Avenue Service Center during my college years. A fellow student said “I wouldn’t even walk down that road. Your mother must have raised you differently than mine.” My response was “I doubt it!”


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