We usually see images of an older, William Hall, the Royal Navy captain who was honored with a Victoria Cross for his bravery in November, 1857.
The above image is a portrait of the sailor as a young man. It hangs in Government House in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Hall is recognized as the first Black man, the first Nova Scotian and the first Canadian to receive the British Empire’s then, highest honor, the Victoria Cross.
In an era when many are reassessing the “heroes” of the past, there are people who feel Hall deserves to be honored with a statue.
At the Siege of Lucknow in what was then known as British India, Hall and his crew stood their ground during the bombardment of a key position in a conflict between the British Empire and colonial India.
Because they were short-staffed, Captain Hall volunteered his assistance and all but Hall and one crew member, who was badly injured, were killed.
In 2010, Hall was honored with a Canadian stamp. Many years later a memorial highway was named for him.
Today, when statues of individuals who once promoted offensive colonial and/or racist views are being pulled down it’s important to remember that the world has changed.
Hall fought for freedom in an era when many harbored negative stereotypes about him and didn’t even think he had the right to serve.
Captain William Hall deserves to be respected and remembered as a Canadian military hero.
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