Darlene Foster's Blog

In Honour of Black History Month

Posted on: February 21, 2022

I was gifted a set of special postage stamps from a long-time friend. The stamps feature members of her family who immigrated to Amber Valley, Alberta over one hundred years ago. How special to have your family featured on a postage stamp. I am delighted to own a set.

I will let my friend´s daughter, Gillian White, tell you about the history of her forefathers.

Last year my Great, Great Grandfather Jordan Murphy (he’s the handsome one in the middle) and his two grandchildren were featured on a Canadian stamp for black history month! Such an honour!

I’ll share with you a little bit of the history of Black Canadians and my Great Great Grandfathers Journey.

In the early 1900s about 1000, African American’s moved from the United States to Western Canada in hopes of finding a better life…..Canada was offering small sections of land for a very little amount of $10! This applied to many African Americans looking for freedom.

My Grandfather was one of the few looking to escape racism, prejudice, Jim Crow (forced segregation between blacks and whites). It was a very dangerous time for Black people, especially where he was from in Oklahoma.

My Great, Great Grandfather Jordan Murphy made the long trek to Amber Valley, North of Edmonton and this settlement is believed to be the most Northerly all-black community that has ever existed in the world. It was a long journey, by train, horse and buggy and then lots of hardship breaking ground and building a new life – while still facing adversity, discrimination and marginalization.

I’m so darn grateful for my grandfather’s bravery and perseverance because of him, we live in a country with so many opportunities and freedom.

written by Gillian White

Check out Gillian´s website, podcasts, and newsletters which are full of inspiration, music and recipes. I look forward to them every month.




I also found this wonderful video, narrated by descendants of the original homesteaders.

Winner of the 2018 Canadian Screen Award for Excellence in Digital Storytelling; About 100 km North of Edmonton is Amber Valley, one of the first all-Black settlements in Canada. Arriving in 1909, the pioneers of this community battled the elements and racism to not only survive but thrive.

I am so pleased to know this family and learn more about their rich heritage, an integral part of Canada´s history.

55 Responses to "In Honour of Black History Month"

In addition to author, you are now a philatelist. These are special–and rare, Darlene!

I have to admit I had to look up philatelist. I did collect stamps as a young girl and wished I could visit all those exotic places I had stamps from. I was especially intrigued by the ones from Spain. I gave my collection to my youngest grandson. These are indeed special and I will treasure them.

Such determination and perseverance. I can understand why Gillian is so proud. ❤ It must have been such a special time for the family when the stamps came out!

Very special indeed. And part of Canada’s history that up to now, was not that well known.

I love these kind of stories and I would like to be part of such great work. I am in South Africa and I salute you for being brave enough to share with pride.

A wonderful post to honour Black History Month and the courage and resilience of those who sought a better life in Canada. Thank you, Darlene.

P.S. Forgot to mention that the video is fabulous.

Thanks, Rebecca. It is a wonderful video. Thanks for taking the time to view it.

Beautiful story about the power and persistence of the human spirit. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks, Christa. So pleased you enjoyed it.

I loved this! What a family legacy! ❤

Thanks, Colleen. It is amazing.

How wonderful you were gifted of these two sweet of stamps, Darlene. Having a family featured on the stamps surely is an extraordinary and honored thing. Gillian’s poem is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

I am pleased to have a set of these special stamps. Gillian did a great job of telling us her family´s story.

You have an invaluable treasure, Darlene.

Thanks for sharing Gillian White’s story. I am glad people of African descent found a safe haven in Canada. I’m sad the US has not been a good place to live for African Americans.

Thanks, Rebecca. There were kind Americans who helped many families make it to safety.

This is beautiful, Darlene. Thank you for sharing this.

I´m pleased you liked this post. xo

HI Darlene, thanks for sharing this great story and stamp. How amazing and interesting.

Thanks, Robbie. I thought you would find this bit of history interesting.

Great story! I used to collect postage stamps when I was a kid. I said that I’d get back to it once I retired. It still hasn’t happened yet. 😊

I collected stamps as a child and gave my collection to my grandson. Unfortunately, not many stamps are used anymore. Most of the few letters we receive are franked. I do love these commemorative stamps though.

I didn’t know about this history. Thanks for sharing it.

This piece of history is not well known, even in Canada.

What a lovely set of postage stamps from your friend’s family and a great way to honour Black History month. Thanks for sharing Gillian’s story.

So glad you enjoyed the story and the stamps.

Thanks, Darlene for posting this in honor of Black History month.

You´re welcome. Glad you liked it.

Beautiful stamps and a wonderful way to commemorate such an important part of history. Thanks for sharing it and for introducing us to Gillian and her family, Darlene.

Thanks, Olga. I am pleased to be friends with Gillian and her wonderful family for almost 40 years. Happy to introduce her to my blogging friends.

Thank you for sharing this part of history I knew nothing about. I’m very glad I took the time to watch the video.

I´m glad to be able to share some little known history. The video is very well done.

I didn’t know this part of Canadian history. Once again, we were only taught about white guys from Europe….thanks for sharing this!

Exactly! So many don´t know about this part of our history.

Awesome post Darlene!! Thank you so much for sharing!! I had no idea of this piece of Canadian history…it warmed my heart!!!

Thanks, Kirt. it is a little known bit of our history that is coming to light.

What a fascinating and inspiring story. And I can’t imagine how proud Gillian and her family must be to have their ancestors honored on a stamp. Her story of her ancestors is awe-inspiring and it’s a history I had no knowledge about. Wonderful of you to share. I’m off to check out Gillian’s website.

You will find Gill´s website interesting. She is a lovely person with a calming effect on everyone.

I signed up to get more of her info. ❤

I love those stamps, and it was so nice to read about Gillian and her ancestors – so inspiring. Toni x

Thanks, Toni. Very inspiring!

What an honor to have her family on a set of postage stamps, and what a wonderful gift to you, Darlene!

I was delighted with my gift and so pleased her family was recognized in this way.

[…] In Honour of Black History Month […]

What an interesting post. Thanks Darlene for featuring Gillian and her family.

Thanks, Stevie. I´m pleased to share their story.

What an awesome story! I really enjoy reading it.

It is, isn´t it? So glad you enjoyed the story!

[…] In Honour of Black History Month […]

A wonderful post, thank you!

Thank you for visiting my blog. Glad you liked the post.

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