Federal Plaza renamed in honor of Canada’s first Black woman lawyer
EDMONTON -- As a young person, Violet King Henry knew that she wanted to be a lawyer, even though at the time there wasn’t a single Black woman lawyer in Canada, and now she has been honoured for her accomplishments.
She was determined to be the first, and she succeeded.
“In her Grade 12 yearbook, there's a caption there that says 'Violet wants to be a criminal lawyer.' The fact that no black person had ever received a law degree in Alberta before it just didn't seem to faze her at all. Neither did the fact that there had never been a Black woman lawyer in all of Canada.” Explained MLA Leela Aheer.
Born in 1929, her achievements were many. She was the first Black person to obtain a law degree in Alberta and be admitted to the Alberta Bar, and she was the first Black woman lawyer in Canada.
Her hard work and ambition broke barriers for Black people and women across our province and country, and on Friday morning she was honored by having the Federal Plaza in downtown Edmonton renamed the Violet King Henry Plaza.
“Renaming this plaza gives life to her story so that generations after us will know who she is and understand her contributions to this province, and to our country,” said Aheer.
The renaming ceremony was attended by several Alberta political dignitaries and is happening in February, which is also Black History Month.