The NFB is committed to respecting your privacy

We use cookies to ensure that our site works efficiently, as well as for advertising purposes.

If you do not wish to have your information used in this way, you can modify your browser settings before continuing your visit.

Learn more
Skip to content
Your request could not be processed.
Playlists
Please note that you can no longer create or edit a playlist. Learn more.
Access your playlists

Embed this code on your site

Video player width

by Reset
New release
Coming 
None

The Road Taken

1996 52 min
Leaving soon

This 1996 documentary takes a nostalgic ride through history to present the experiences of Black sleeping-car porters who worked on Canada's railways from the early 1900s through the 1960s. There was a strong sense of pride among these men and they were well-respected by their community. Yet, harsh working conditions prevented them from being promoted to other railway jobs until finally, in 1955, porter Lee Williams took his fight to the union. Claiming discrimination under the Canada Fair Employment Act, the Black workers won their right to work in other areas. Interviews, archival footage and the music of noted jazz …

We're sorry, this content is not available in your location.
Your rental expires on
None
You've already purchased this film.
Download it from My purchases.
Not available
Campus
The Road Taken

Details

This 1996 documentary takes a nostalgic ride through history to present the experiences of Black sleeping-car porters who worked on Canada's railways from the early 1900s through the 1960s. There was a strong sense of pride among these men and they were well-respected by their community. Yet, harsh working conditions prevented them from being promoted to other railway jobs until finally, in 1955, porter Lee Williams took his fight to the union.

Claiming discrimination under the Canada Fair Employment Act, the Black workers won their right to work in other areas. Interviews, archival footage and the music of noted jazz musician Joe Sealy (whose father was a porter) combine to portray a fascinating history that might otherwise have been forgotten.
  • director
    Selwyn Jacob
  • producer
    Selwyn Jacob
    Dale Phillips
    Jerry Krepakevich
  • executive producer
    Dale Phillips
    Graydon McCrea
  • script
    Frederick Ward
  • narrator
    Frederick Ward
  • camera
    Charles Konowal
    Les Krizsan
  • sound
    Arthur McKay
    Norman Dugas
    George Novotny
  • editing
    Michel Lalonde
  • music
    Joe Sealy

Enjoy the NFB experience on your favourite device. 

Education

Ages 14 to 17
Have students track the history of Human Rights pertaining to racial equality in Canada. What milestones changed the opportunities for African-Canadian citizens? Watch the Making It to examine the feelings of some African-Canadians regarding discrimination in the workplace today. Hold a debate and discuss how circumstances changed or remained the same?
The Road Taken
Also available