Although her name may not be instantly recognizable to some, her family name has certainly made an impact on black history in Canada.
As part of Centennial College’s speaker series, actress, filmmaker and model Linda Carter was on hand Feb. 22 to discuss her documentary film, The Making of a Judge, in honour of Black History Month. The film details the life and accomplishments of her father, George E. Carter, the first black judge to be born in Canada.
Carter says part of her motivation for creating the documentary, besides the significance her father had on pioneering the achievements of black people in Canada, was to show his extremely humble beginnings.
“One of the reasons I had to do this film was because of the stories he would tell,” Carter said. “He’d start talking about when he had to Simoniz cars on Bathurst Street and having to cut the chamois himself.”
She says despite her father being the first Canadian-born black judge, she felt there was no negative pressure from the community.
“Everyone was happy for him, particularly in the law community,” she said. “He was well-liked and well-respected in the community and they were very happy for accomplishments.”
Linda Carter was born and raised in Toronto and attended predominantly Caucasian schools throughout her youth.
Being the only black student at school and growing up in an area where the black community was almost non-existent, she says it was her family that would educate her on matters pertaining to her black heritage and help her maintain her ties to the black community.
“My grandmother was the one that would give me a cultural insight,” she said. “She would take me to different functions and different places and you’d always see the same people there. That was the black community, and through them I was able to learn the history of our people.”
Despite its somewhat controversial nature, Carter says the Africentric school that opened in Toronto in 2009 will ultimately do more good than bad, and will be beneficial for those new to Canada.
Carter has worked in the entertainment industry for nearly 30 years, starting in modeling and eventually finding her way to film. Some of her more recognized works include guest spots on Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye, Degrassi: The Next Generation and more recently The Border.
Carter is currently working on a new documentary on the life and career of actor and musician Joey Hollingsworth.