Celebrating Canadian Black History Month 2023

Scholarship for Black students at Western named in honour of Michelle’s grandfather James Francis Jenkins.

Three new scholarships for Black students at Western have been named in honour of members of the Black community who, through their association with the university and their contributions to the community, have left a legacy of commitment to education and social justice.

The scholarships include the James Jenkins President’s Entrance Scholarship for Black Students, the Carmeta Thelma Hodges Western Continuing Admission Scholarship of Excellence for Black Students and the Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Jacobs Western Continuing Admission Scholarship of Distinction for Black Students.

Read the full articles in The Western News and the Western Gazette.

(From left) President Alan Shepard; Michelle Jenkins, granddaughter of James Jenkins along with former national basketball player Barry Howson with the plaque honouring Jenkins. (Chris Kindratsky/Western Communications)

James Francis Jenkins what a magnificent man he was

Poem written by Michelle Jenkins

An icon,

A leader,

A trailblazer for us.

A Father, a brother, a friend and Mentor for generations to come.

Armed with education he knew his calling and paved the way for future generations

America’s cruelty and racism was not an option for our leader, thus escaping to Canada had to be done. It was a hard and dangerous trip to Canada, yet James wanted to ensure he used his education and envisioned a better life for his family and Blacks in Canada. James would take the positive practices of America’s Black newspapers and use these tools to create a new network in Canada.

One of the first Black settlers in London, a new life began. Protecting and empowering black lives – who were the endangered ones. Determination, hard work, James would honor and praise the work of other Blacks in the community. The drive for education did not stop, as James worked with other Blacks and Whites in the community knowing the true potential of Black men and women had to be protected and uplifted. A better life for Black Canadians a new era had become. The Dawn of Tomorrow, a life line for many, James’ entrepreneurism had just begun.

What a magnificent man he was. Today’s scholars still study him. Brave, fearless and driven, history making is exactly that of what he had become.

My hero, father, Uncle, brother or son, Grandfather, husband, Canadian leader, our visionary Black trailblazer. That is the man he was.

He saved my life, he gave me hope, he protected my family are words those who knew of him might utter. Changing lives of many across Canada that is the magnificent man he was.

As we remember, as we rejoice here today, at home in the books of history, let us praise the man who’s selfless acts made such a heroic outcome.

Strive forward, don’t give up, be aware of the attacks. Blacks gather in safety, give worship and honor your brother and sister were a few written sentiments James felt were a must. That is merely a brief clip of who the strong Black leader, a man with a vision that is who James Francis  Jenkins was.

Friends – Education is the key – Fuel your mind with knowledge and ignore hate.  Rise and realize your true potential – Black brothers and sisters the time is now, please do not wait. In 2023 we still feel the weight that our fathers carried and fought for, we will make them proud. Black men continue to mentor and create new chapters, Black women shine brighter than the stars. Sisters you can do it, no obstacle you cannot overcome.

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