Inducted: October 26, 1994
He was instrumental in the establishment of the National Unity Association, a forerunner of the organizations that provided the bedrock for provincial legislation and for Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedom, promising equality of opportunity and treatment to all.
As an active member of the National Unity Association, he sponsored the motion to approach Ontario Premier Leslie Frost, seeking a broadening of the Fair Accommodations Act to give Canadian black people access to al residential property.
At the federal level, Mr. Shadd accompanied Hugh Burnett to Ottawa to interview Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, appealing for legislation to ensure fairer treatment for all Canadians. The result was a 1960Human Rights Bill which gave Canada’s black citizens new opportunities for jobs in business, industry and institutions. Echoes of this, and other legislation, found their way into the Charter, and its firm declaration of the protection and privileges for all Canadians.
Mr. Shadd’s formal education, like that of many of his generations, was limited to attendance at a Raleigh public school. That was not enough for a fertile and inquiring mind, and he continued to learn through a long and productive life, attending courses at the Ontario Agricultural College, and seminars and information programs where he could learn more about tiling, herbicides, weather, machinery, and other topics relating to farm operation.
Mr. Shadd was a Raleigh Township Weed Inspector for many years, studying and reading to qualify for the job. He was a member of one of the first farm organizations in Ontario. Later, as a member of the Ontario Farmers’ Union he fought the vain battle to save the Ontario sugar beet industry, and he participated in a tractor cavalcade to Ottawa.
Mr. Shadd was a member of a Farmers’ Co-operative at North Buxton, established to sell seeds, fertilizers and other farming needs at lower prices. Fraternally, he was a member of the Masonic Order, St. John’s Lodge #9 for 65 years.
Mr. Shadd’s diary was a faithful record of a life full of activity and interest. Man of his observations were passed on to a wider readership through a flow of letters to the Editors of area newspapers.
Mr. Shadd was deeply devout, and as a layman represented his congregation in the British Methodist Episcopal Conference. All of his speeches, all of his letters to the Editors, were prefaced and concluded with a Bible verse.
Mr. Shadd was married to the former Gertrude Jones. Their three sons are: Leslie, of Kingston; Edwin, Fletcher; and Wilbert, North Buxton. There are 15 grandchildren.
Someone said of him, “He was ahead of his time, and everything he learned, he was willing to share.” Another Raleigh resident said: “He was a fine man, who had the respect and admiration of the whole community.”