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
The Road Taken

The Road Taken

| 52 min

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.


Credits
  • 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

Suggestions

Enjoy the NFB experience on your favourite device. 

Education

Ages 14 to 17

Civics/Citizenship - Human Rights
Diversity - Black Studies
Social Studies - Social History

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

Embed this code on your site

Video player width

by Reset