Given their sincere belief in the importance of diversity and inclusion, Sec V students Amia and Shayah prepared a Remembrance Day assembly with a focus on a group of Canadian soldiers whose contributions have, for decades, been overlooked or ignored.
The assembly highlighted the contributions of Black Canadians who served in the First World War -specifically the No. 2 Construction Battalion. Hundreds of Black men in Canada were turned away when they volunteered to fight overseas in 1914 because they weren’t wanted in what was considered "a white man’s war". Following two years of pressure from the Black Canadian Community, the Canadian military received approval in 1916 to establish the segregated, non-combat battalion. More than 300 of those who enlisted were from Nova Scotia. Only a few of its members would see combat, mainly because the battalion was repeatedly told its help wasn’t wanted on the front lines, and they received no public recognition when they returned home. The unit mainly supported forestry operations while overseas, working lumber mills and maintaining roads and railway equipment.
Amia's great, great uncle, Walter Roland Allison of Hammond Plains, Nova Scotia joined the battalion in 1916 at the age of 20.