WOW Gal Angel

Wilma (Leone) Morrison

Niagara’s authority on African Canadian history, Wilma departed this life on April 23, 2020 as one of the many who passed away due to Covid-19. She made it to 91 years of age which was incredible in itself.

Wilma 'fought passionately' for the preservation of black history in Canada and was actually recognized as one of the Uncrowned Community Builders and rightfully so. 

Born in London Ontario she came to Niagara Falls and never left. And make her mark she did for all who came to know her and of her.

Wilma was, among many things: a mentor, a teacher, a historian. It became very apparent she had a deep passion for the preservation of Black history within the Niagara region. 

She was of the opinion that if we do not know where we come from, it will be hard to know where we are going. Her passion for honouring the past while residing in the present was evident her whole life.

Ayodele Adewumi, her friend and the director of the film, “Wilma” called her the Harriet Tubman of our era. The film told the story of her experiences growing in Ontario and the discrimination she faced because of the colour of her skin and because of her gender. The film looks at her fight to save the historic British Methodist Episcopal church on Peter Street in Niagara Falls. 

He said Wilma single handedly made sure the church was designated as a national heritage site "because the church is the only evidence of black people being around here for over 200 years."

In 2022, Niagara Falls put out a call for Black artists to create a tribute piece for Wilma, the Niagara Falls woman whose efforts to preserve and celebrate Black history in Canada earned her national recognition. 

The R. Nathaniel Dett British Methodist Episcopal church is a national historic site on Peter St in Niagara Falls, Ont. was a place where newly arrived Underground Railroad refugees found help. (Parks Agency Canada)
A jury from the cultural community of Niagara Falls has decided upon the proposed work “Progress” by Jacob Headley as the selection for a tribute art piece of late local historian Wilma Morrison.

Wilma will have a courtyard named after her at the Niagara Falls culture hub and there will be a permanent Black history exhibit at Niagara Falls History Museum, next door, dedicated to her. Check out the resources below to learn even more about this AMAZING Woman.

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