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George E. Carter
This date in 1921 marks the birth of George E. Carter. He was a Black Canadian judge and lawyer.
George Carter was born in Toronto, Canada, he was the first of 14 children of John Carter and Louise Braithwaite Carter, who were from Barbados. He and all of his brothers and sisters were taught the value of education and achievement by their parents.
Carter’s keen intellect was displayed early on as an outstanding student from a struggling West Indian family in the Depression era. He also excelled in sports as a cricket player. During this time camaraderie developed and was shared with the young Jewish men he went to school with, many also from poor families. He also connected with the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) as a center for the Toronto black community of his youth in the 1930’s. Carter was inspired by visiting speakers Marcus Garvey, Paul Robeson, and A. Phillip Randolph.
In 1944, Carter received his B.A. from Trinity College, University of Toronto. In that same year, he went into the Canadian army. After his military service, Carter went on to Osgoode Hall from 1945-48 to study law. While in school, Carter worked as a porter on the trains because that was the only job available for most Black men at the time. After completing his education, he became one of Canada’s first Black lawyers. He was appointed to the bench in l976 as the first native-born, Black judge in Canada
Honorable Judge George E. Carter was instrumental in establishing legal aid services and in the formation of the Adoption of Coloured Children agency. He is also an active leader of the Black Canadian Society.
Judge Carter’s love of literature, history, and language, and his intense love of the law made him an outstanding jurist and a model for justices who followed him. Carter retired but still practices some law, remains an avid reader, and continues the banter with his six remaining sisters. A television documentary, “The Making Of A Judge,” was made about his accomplishments. It is hosted by his daughter, actress and model Linda V. Carter.
A bust of Justice Carter was unveiled at the Osgoode Hall Library in May 2014. A television documentary movie was made about his life in 2010 and he was named to the Order of Ontario in 2014. George E. Carter died on June 7, 2018 of heart complications.
Linda V. Carter
Image: Michael Chambers