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Wilson O. Brooks
*The birth of Wilson O. Brooks is celebrated on this date in 1925. He was a Black Canadian officer, teacher and civil rights advocate. Born in Windsor, Ontario, he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Brooks.
He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in April of 1943 and trained at No. 5 Bombing and Gunnery School in Dafoe, Saskatchewan. Brooks was one of the first Black commissioned officers in the RCAF to serve in a bomber squadron during WWII. In May of 1944 he earned the rank of Flying Officer at the age of 19. Brooks went on to become the first Black school principal in Toronto.
A graduate of the University of Toronto, was the first Black teacher to be hired by Toronto’s public schools, progressing to eventually become the first Black principal in Toronto, at Shaw Junior Public School and Glen Ames Junior Public School. In 1978, he and Dr. Daniel G. Hill founded the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) was established. Its founders, including Dr. Daniel G. Hill and Brooks, presented a petition to the City of Toronto to have February formally proclaimed as Black History Month. (BHM).
A year later, the first formal celebration of BHM in the City of Toronto with a municipal proclamation took place in Feb 1979. Wilson O. Brooks died in 1997.