A Struggle to Walk with Dignity: The Story of a Jamaican-Born Canadian, the Autobiography of Gerald A.
My life story will appeal to those with the most basic respect for human dignity. It is about being human first and my struggle to survive in a sometimes hostile world. Starting with my untimely birth in Kingston Jamaica, which was tainted with rejection and controversy over skin colour, within my own family. I was able to survive because of the Christian humanity within my grandmother. After her passing I was bounced around between aunts and family friends, with no father figure and not really knowing who I belonged to, leaving me with a deep distrust of people. I was eventually sent to live with my mother, who had fallen in love with a man that joined the Canadian army of World War 2, she immigrated to Canada to marry him in Montreal.
The year of my arrival from Jamaica to Montreal was 1947, and things looked very bleak for me due to a lack of loving parental guidance, after my arrival. The stage was now set for a brutal encounter with the reality of my circumstance, and a new stepfather. A very hard life was inevitable for me at this time. So my story screams out in total openness and honesty, about my deepest feelings in dealing with my struggle towards a better life for myself as a person of African, English, French and Aboriginal ancestry. Now in a new society with its many racist attitudes of the 1940's, I was forced to defend my dignity by any means available. My Jamaican heredity, and racial mix will speak volumes about me as a person who realises early in my life that I will only survive by applying myself to work hard for what I want, and by looking for the best in people, and opportunities wherever it may be. I did not choose Canada at the start as I was sent here, but over time I could see the energy of a young country ready for change and growth, that would allow me to survive as a person. I could also express my feelings as a citizen, creating a willingness in myself to give something back to a society that gave me hope for the future. By taking the challenge to change bad attitudes in my work environment within the airline industry, I was thought of as a sort of radical among some of my co-workers who loved the old racist ways of the past. Being a whistle-blower is not fun but I fought the good fight with success, and the behaviour was forced to change within the airline and the union. Having made this contribution in my area, I took the time in my retirement years to write about my experiences, to help other newcomers to Canada. My book is a multifaceted account of a life, historical facts, family problems, race, and success in the end by keeping my faith in humanity, love and understanding of people from all walks of life, as an average Canadian working stiff. Good reading.