The Road Taken

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 Blacks 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.

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Selwyn Jacob
Selwyn Jacob
Dale Phillips
Jerry Krepakevich
executive producer
Dale Phillips
Graydon McCrea
Frederick Ward
Frederick Ward
Charles Konowal
Les Krizsan
Arthur McKay
Norman Dugas
George Novotny
Michel Lalonde
Joe Sealy


  • streetdreamfilms

    “A well presented history, and the lure for me was the trains. It is easy to forget how foolishly mankind so recently looked upon each other, with white folks looking down their noses at the black men shining their shoes. Endurance indeed, and thank goodness our world is coming about - on that score anyway.” — streetdreamfilms, 8 Apr 2010

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