A National Apology to Black Soldiers of the Great War

A National Apology to Black Soldiers of the Great War


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of National Defense Anita Anand on Saturday apologized to the descendants of black servicemen who served in the 2econstruction battalion during the First World War.

It was during a ceremony in Truro, Nova Scotia, that the Prime Minister apologized for the “appalling” way black soldiers were treated during the war. Among other things, he recognized the systemic racism suffered by soldiers before, during and after this period.

At the start of the war, many members of black communities were denied the right to serve their country and go to fight.

The soldiers of the 2nd Construction Battalion, however, greatly contributed to the effort by cutting wood used in trenches, for railroads or aircraft, for example.

For a long time after the war, the efforts and sacrifices of black soldiers did not got the recognition they deserved.

“Only by acknowledging the truths of the past can we begin to heal the wounds they have caused and build a better and more inclusive Canada for all. I would like to thank the descendants of the 2nd Construction Battalion and the members of the black communities […] from across Canada for the important outreach efforts they have made,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the ceremony. .

“The story of the 2nd Construction Battalion along with the stories of courage, honor and sacrifice of many other Canadian pioneers will go a long way in ensuring that this horrific treatment never happens again,” he said. added.

“Members of No. 2 Construction Battalion faced discrimination before, during and after their service in the Great War. […] I hope that today's apology will help recognize every Black Canadian who has bravely served this country in times of war, and in the pursuit of peace,” continued Anita Anand.


“The brave men of No. 2 Construction Battalion served with pride and valor despite the severe adversity they faced. [They] had to face obstacles because of the color of their skin. Today, we can remember their important legacy and pay homage to them. This is a step towards racial equality in our country,” said Russell Grosse, Executive Director of the Black Cultural Center for Nova Scotia.