Howard Douglas McCurdy

Teacher, City Councillor, activist, Member of Parliament

Dr. McCurdy has a long history of community activism and public service in addition to his successful career as Professor of Biology.  Originally born in London, Ontario, he moved with his family to Amherstburg, Ontario while a child. He attributes his later activism for the rights of Black citizens to discrimination experienced while young.

At Michigan State University Howard McCurdy earned a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Chemistry (1958). Subsequently he returned across the border to join the University of Windsor (1959- 1984).  There he rose through the ranks from Lecturer to full Professor, including a term as Acting Head of the Science Department, becoming the first tenured African-Canadian faculty member in Canada.

During this same period Dr. McCurdy advocated for civil rights.  At Michigan State he was the founding president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); in Ontario he co-founded the National Black Coalition of Canada (known in the 1960s as the Guardian Club). Later in 2003-2005 he served as President of the Windsor Black Coalition.

Dr. McCurdy also worked for change within the existing political arena.  In 1979 he was elected to Windsor City Council where he served for two terms.  Then in 1984, as the New Democratic Party candidate for Windsor-Walkerville, he won the seat to the House of Commons.  After Lincoln Alexander, Dr. McCurdy was the second African Canadian elected to Parliament.  After the riding changed its name to Windsor-Lake St. Clair for the 1988 campaign, he was re-elected, serving until defeated in the 1993 election.
Dr. McCurdy received many honors for his years of activism and public service.  In recognition of his life-time achievements, he was presented with the North American Black Historical Museum Community Achievement award in 2001. In 2011 he was awarded the Order of Ontario, and a year later, was invested as a Member in the Order of Canada.
Now retired, Dr. McCurdy writes and consults.

Key Facts

– Born: December 10, 1932, London Ontario
– Professor of Microbiology and Chemistry, University of Windsor
– awarded Centennial Medal 1967; Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal, 1977
– City Councillor (1979 – 1984)
– elected to the House of Commons 1984, representing the riding of Windsor-Walkerville; re-elected 1988 representing the riding of Windsor-Lake St. Clair (New Democratic Party)
– presented with the North American Black Historical Museum Community Achievement award 2001;
– awarded the Order of Ontario, 2012; Order of Canada, 2012


McCurdy, Howard Douglas, C.M., O. Ont., B.A., B.Sc., Ph.D.” (website) Parliament of Canada. ParlInfo. Members of the House of Commons.

Pearson, Craig. “McCurdy named to Order of Ontario“. Windsor Star. January 20, 2012. Accessed November 19, 2015.

Thompson, Chris. “Howard McCurdy to be invested in Order of Canada“. Windsor Star. January 1, 2013. Accessed: November 19, 2015.

Williams, Dawn, ed. Who’s who in Black Canada. 2nd ed. Toronto : D.P. Williams, 2002.