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Scarlett, Mose

  • RC0870
  • Persona
  • 1946-2019

Moseley Stephen Scarlett was a Toronto-based musician who specialized in jazz, blues, ragtime, and swing music from the early 20th century. Scarlett was a known entity in the industry, and frequently collaborated and recorded with musicians such as Jackie Washington, Ken Whiteley, Bruce Cockburn, Marg Stowe, and others.

Scarlett was born in Peterborough, Ontario to an electrical engineer and schoolteacher. At the age of 10 his family moved to Ohio, with Scarlett returning to Canada at the age of 18. Scarlett would marry Anne Tener, with whom he had two daughters, Jessica and Gaelyn. Scarlett and Tener eventually divorced, and Scarlett found a long-time partner in Tina Cohen.

Scarlett routinely played at music events across Canada, and the world. He undertook several tours of the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany, and frequented music festivals such as Summerfolk and Northern Lights. Scarlett died in Toronto on 30 May 2019 of leukemia.

Robinson, Judith

  • RC0918
  • Persona
  • 1899-1961

Judith Robinson was born in Toronto, Ont. on Victoria Street on April 6, 1899. She was the daughter of Jessie and John Robinson Robinson (nicknamed “Black Jack Robinson”), who was the editor of the Toronto Telegram until his death in 1929. She attended Toronto Model School until age 12, when she contracted a childhood illness which stopped her schooling. Self-taught in journalism and literature, she also developed an interest in architecture.

Known as ‘Brad’ to her friends, Robinson became a reporter at the Toronto Globe in 1929. Under Globe President George McCullagh, she wrote a Page One feature column daily beginning in 1936. She resigned in 1940 over a political disagreement with the Globe’s coverage of World War II. With her brother John and Oakley Dalgleish, she clandestinely printed advertisements under the name “Canada Calling,” criticizing Mackenzie King government’s slow response to the war effort. In May 1941, she and Dalgleish founded NEWS, a national weekly newspaper whose editorial office was her home at 63 Wellesley St. NEWS closed in 1946. During the war she was also was active in the Women’s Emergency Committee which petitioned the Canadian government to close the Christie Street Veteran’s Hospital in Toronto. Those efforts helped result in the opening of Sunnybrook Military Hospital in 1946. Beginning in 1953, she wrote a daily column for the Toronto Telegram until her death on December 17, 1961.

Robinson authored three non-fiction books: Tom Cullen of Baltimore (1949), As We Came By (1951), and This Is On the House (1957). She edited John Farthing’s political treatise, Freedom Wears a Crown, and helped publish the medical memoir Days of Living: The Journal of Martin Roher, for which she wrote the introduction.

Armstrong, Neil

  • RC0934
  • Persona
  • 1234-

Neil Armstrong is a journalist who has worked in radio, newspaper and television. He was the news director, program director, and host of the literary show, Covered and Bound, at CHRY Radio (105.5 FM) at York University in Toronto from 1995 to 2004. In his capacity as host and a bibliophile, he met and interviewed hundreds of Canadian and international authors — many from the Black, Caribbean and African communities — on the radio show or at events he covered. Neil was also the editor at the Jamaican Weekly Gleaner (North American edition) and the annual Black Pages directory. He was a member of the editorial team of the book, Jamaicans in Canada: When Ackee Meets Codfish, published in 2012.

A strong supporter of initiatives that celebrate Black communities in Canada, Neil is the literary coordinator of the annual Black and Caribbean Book Affair and the monthly Literary Salons organized by Blackhurst Cultural Centre in Toronto, formerly A Different Booklist Cultural Centre.