ONCE UPON A TIME… Through the lens of a Black archivist

Young Antoinette sitting on University of Windsor wall in 1980.
By: Antoinette "Anto" Seymour
Posted April 2, 2024

Bahamian Storytelling Chant
“Once upon a time was a ‘wery’ nice time; monkey chew tobacco and spit out lime.”
Oral tradition, including storytelling, is indeed still a part of Caribbean life and that of the Caribbean diaspora. So once upon a time and a ‘wery’ long time ago, there was a 16-year-old Bahamian who matriculated at University of Windsor in Ontario. And through the changing scenes of life, that Caribbean “brown-skin gal”, yours truly in photo above, now finds herself back at UWindsor, this time as faculty/archivist/librarian, with research interests which include Diasporic hidden histories, or the disruption of silences in archives.

I like to think of my role as archivist as a critical one as we are the preservers, guardians or custodians of culture, history, heritage, identity, legacy and memory.  Preservation in perpetuity. And that applies to any and every discipline or experience.
“61”: Black Student Life at UWindsor

“61” is the inaugural theme within my blog, and is coined in alignment with the University of Windsor’s 61st birthday.
Until the end of this year, do watch this space for 61 archival items from hidden histories of the now-defunct UWindsor Caribbean Students Association (CARISA) which was formed in the early 70s, as well as from misty memories of Black alumni and non-Black Caribbean alumni, generally.  
As I gratefully contribute to the building of the UWindsor institutional collections at our Leddy Library Archives and Special Collections (ASC), I trust that narratives would emerge to inform research, learning and understanding, and to enrich the intercultural and transcultural experience.
This particular blog will initially provide a glimpse into [Black] student life, way back when, that would otherwise be lost. CARISA, for example, was ever so vibrant but has since been relegated to ghost status. That is such a pity, given that so many of its high-achieving constituents have gone on to facilitate community building at Canada and indeed across the globe.  
Fun Facts: Did you know that CARISA won the first, I believe, UWindsor Student Clubs parade float with its “Coming in from the Cold”? As well, CARISA events more than once made it onto the front page of the Windsor Star.
Parade float of Caribbean Student Association of University of Windsor  in 1980s Caribbean male student on parade float of Caribbean Students Association of University of Windsor in early 1980s
Bahamian Storytelling Chant
“Be bo ben, my ole story end.”

Antoinette "Anto" Seymour is a proud University of Windsor alumna and professional archivist cross-appointed to Leddy Library and the University of Windsor Black Studies Institute in 2024. 

Send us a message