Rella Aylestock Braithwaite

by Ricardo McRae on December 12, 2010

in Author, BHM Feature, Community, Historian, Ontario, Research, Writer

Post image for Rella Aylestock Braithwaite
Writer / Historian, Toronto, ON. Born: Listowel, ON. (Originally posted Dec. 12/2010.)

Rella Aylestock Braithwaite has been researching and recording the history of Blacks in Canada since the 1960s and has, through her publications, made significant contributions to the existing body of work.

She began writing to ensure that her children knew their heritage. She wrote for Contrast newspaper for 10 years, producing columns on Black history; in 1973, she co-authored a booklet, Women of our Times, for the first Black Women’s Congress. In 1975, she published a book on outstanding Black women, The Black Woman in Canada; and, in 1978, she worked with teachers at the Ontario Ministry of Education, on a Black Studies Guide for students. Over the years, she has addressed groups of students and adults on Black history and shared her extensive collection of Black memorabilia.

Other: Rella is one of the eldest descendants of the Queen’s Bush Pioneers. The Queen’s Bush land located north of Waterloo Township and south of Lake Huron, was the largest black settlement in the region, and the place where hundreds of fugitives escaping slavery made their new home.

Community: Extensive involvement in the community including local churches, schools and charities; International Soroptimist Professional Women’s Club; in 1973, was appointed to the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism for 3 years; covered Scarborough Board of Education meetings for the  West Hill newspaper; joined the OBHS, 1978 and served as Co-Chair for 3 terms.

Honours: Including inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada (1st & 2nd editions; 2002 & 2006); Hall of Fame Award, ACAA (1998); Scarborough Bicentennial Civic Award (1996); Kay Livingstone Award, Congress of Black Women (1989); accomplishment award, Association of Black Women (1983); Black Woman of the Year, Negro Colour Guard (1973).

Works: Books: Some Black Men: Profiles of over 100 Black Men in Canada (1999); Some Black Women (1993); The Black Woman in Canada (1975); Women of our Times (1973). Articles in: Contrast; Africa Speaks; West Hill newspaper.

Favourite book? I mainly read historical books and was fascinated with Lawrence Hill’s Book of Negros, featuring a female hero, as he had done a phenomenal amount of research.

Favourite quote? “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” – Stephen Grellet

Given the chance, what would you do that you haven’t done yet? I do regret that I have not done more travelling.

Who or what inspires you? I’m inspired when I hear accomplishments of our people, especially our youth.

Why do you do what you do? I have researched and written Black history for over 30 years as I feel it is very important for our next generation to know their heritage.

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{ 6 comments }

Joan Hopkins (Jackson) October 15, 2013 at 11:24 AM

I am researching the Jackson and Lawson family, for my husband Melvin Roy Jackson.
I saw a soft covered book covering the Lawson Aylestock family which had a woman’s picture on the front and in it had a picture of Samuel Jackson in his military uniform and Lawson’s was my husbands grandparent which married a Jackson.
I believe possibly the book was authored by Rella Aylestock Braithwaite but I am not sure. I would appreciate any information you could give me and where I could get my hands on Rella’s other books. Thanking you for your time and I will patiently be waiting your reply.

Anita Johnson February 12, 2013 at 11:43 PM

i am also the great great grand daughter of Lewis Jasper Carter and I have been researching and getting info on the Carter Family Life you can reach me at …… as i would be honored to speak with you

Kathy Grant February 11, 2013 at 7:11 PM

I know of Jean Cooke Daniels. Her son was Welsford Daniels who recently passed away at 92 in Ottawa. We interviewed him and he spoke of his mom.

Jean Cooke was a good friend of Paul Robeson and started an extensive Black History Library in the home of a Jewish woman in the 1940′s and early 50′s.

I’d have to check around to see if anyone knows what happened to ot.

Alonzo Carter (Carrington) September 4, 2012 at 11:11 AM

I’m the oldest son of Ruby Belle Carter (Carrington) who grew up in Chatham, On. My mother and grandparents, Charles & Lotti Carter and great grandfather, Lewis Jasper Carter lived in North Buxton, On. and were members of the church where you sister Rev. Addie Aylestock held congrigation. My parents with five boys lived in Chatham, On and were members of The First Baptist Church on King St E, presided by Rev. Fred Tatsu. Through Diana I became part of the Underground Railroad Experiance in Drayton for two years and what a treat this is. A lot of connections and stories were told of how we’re all intertwined and it’s wonderful. Will keep up with this journey of education. Thank you! Please not that Ferguson Jenkins Jr. is a cousin of ours.

Claire Aylestock September 3, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Hi I’m Claire. I’ve traced my family heritage back to circa 1680 and there’s a certain missing link in my family. Possibly we are distant relatives? I think many of us want to close the gap between the American aylestocks and Canadians. I want to know the truth and if it’s as simple as a DNA test then so be it!

Chanel Daniels February 5, 2012 at 9:25 PM

My name is Chanel Daniels, and I am the great-grand daughter of Jean Cooke, also went by Jean Daniels. I was wondering if you would be able to send me any information at all about her.
Thank-you…

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