Ryerson professor Peter Bregg is the photojournalist behind a portrait of Lincoln Alexander, Canada’s first black member of parliament, that will be used as an education tool in schools across the country.
The picture is featured on a poster created by Citizenship and Immigration Canada for Black History Month. The photo that Bregg, an instructor in Ryerson’s school of journalism, shot was originally published in Maclean’s magazine in 2001.
“I feel proud that it’s being used for this purpose,” Bregg said. “Black History Month is an important time of the year for children to recognize. They don’t know who Alexander was, but this will give them an opportunity to read up and find out what a fine Canadian he was.”
The inaugural Lincoln Alexander Day was held Jan. 21 this year to posthumously celebrate the former Conservative MP’s achievements.
Alexander, who died in 2012 at the age of 90, was first elected in 1968. He was re-elected four times and was later sworn in as the 24th lieutenant-governor of Ontario in 1985. Known for his amiable demeanor, he was appointed as a Companion of the Order of Canada and to the Order of Ontario in 1992.
Bregg remembers meeting the politician for the first time when Alexander became a member of Parliament in 1968.
“As a politician he got along well with everybody,” Bregg said. “He walked around the Hill and he would see me with a camera and he’d say, ‘Hey, babe’ and ‘How are ya, baby?’”
The posters are free of charge upon request from teachers, schools and libraries.
Bregg said he has already ordered six copies: one for himself and five for his grandchildren.