Fonds 2016.002.1 - Lynn Jones African-Canadian and Diaspora Heritage Collection

Election poster for Lynn Jones Speech by Lynn Jones Lynn Jones : biographical notes "Save the North End CEC!" : [pamphlet] "Your Help is Needed!" : [CEC occupation poster] Photograph of Lynn Jones at a Union event Photograph of Nelson Mandela at an election rally Photograph of Lynn Jones and other election observers Photograph of Lynn Jones and other election observers at the airport "Mandela for President : The People's Choice" : [stickers]
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Lynn Jones African-Canadian and Diaspora Heritage Collection

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5.29 m of textual and graphic materials
1 box of artefacts

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Biographical history

Gladys Lynn Jones (who goes by Lynn) is an African-Canadian woman born and raised in Truro, Nova Scotia. Lynn was raised by her parents, Willena and Elmer Jones, in a large family, which includes her brother, lawyer and activist Burnley Allan "Rocky" Jones. Her grandfather was Jeremiah Jones, a decorated World War I veteran. Growing up, Lynn was active in her local church, a musician, and an athlete (competing in the 1969 Canada Summer Games).

Lynn came to Halifax, Nova Scotia in the early 1970s, where she studied at Dalhousie University through the Transition Year Program (TYP), and earned a Bachelor's of Arts degree. She then pursued a long career as a Federal Public Service employee, working at the Canadian Employment Centre. During this time, Lynn became an active union member and advocate, and the first Black person to join the executive ranks of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). She was also a National Vice-President of the Canadian Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU). As part of the CLC delegation, in 1994, Lynn traveled to South Africa as an election observer in the first free elections (which saw the election of Nelson Mandela). In 1993 Lynn became the first Canadian-born African Canadian women to run in a Canadian Federal Election, as the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in the Halifax riding.

Throughout her life, Lynn has been active in the pursuit of justice, working tireless for many causes and organizations that seek to eradicate racism, secure human rights, and achieve fair labour practices. She has been honoured with many awards including the Queen's Medal, the Congress of Black Women of Canada’s Women of Excellence award, and the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour Human Rights Award. In 2016, she was recognized with an Honorary Doctorate from Acadia University. Since her retirement from Public Service in 2011, Lynn continues to be active. She is currently the Chair of the Global African Congress (Nova Scotia Chapter), which seeks reparations for the Atlantic Slave Trade.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of material relating to the life and accomplishments of Lynn Jones, members of her family and community, and as well as material collected by her that documents over 50 years of African-Nova Scotian, African, and African Diaspora heritage and history.

The Collection documents Lynn's family, her own achievements (Lynn's candidacy for the NDP, union service, election observer work in South Africa, Canadian Public Service career, and involvement with the Black Working Group), and those of her brother Rocky.

The Collection also documents local, national, and international people, history and issues through a substantive collection of news clippings, pamphlets, brochures, posters, and other materials. These record local communities (especially in Truro, Nova Scotia), local events, struggles against racism locally, nationally, and internationally, and Black community organizations such as the Black Working Group set up to advise Human Resources and Development Canada on how to work with the African-Canadian community.

The Collection material—organized into seven series: Clippings and ephemera relating to the Jones Family; Black Working Group materials; Reference and research files by Lynn Jones; Grassroots publications collected by Lynn Jones; Rocky Jones material collected by Lynn Jones; Halifax community organizations; Lynn Jones personal and professional records—can be explored through the Series links above to the left.

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Lynn collected and housed the materials in the Collection over many years, because she recognized the social and historical importance of documenting Black history and heritage. Toward the end of this process the now very large Collection was held at the house of friends. Dr. Val Marie Johnson of Saint Mary's University recognized the critical importance of the Collection being housed at Saint Mary's, and worked with Lynn, Lynn’s friends and the Archives to transfer the materials to the Archives in 2016.


Where possible original arrangement has been maintained; in other areas Archives staff imposed the arrangement.

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Some items in the Collection have been digitized as examples of the content; however, most of the materials remain undigitized; please visit the Saint Mary's University Archives to see the complete Collection.

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