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: