Reporter and longtime educator Ernest Tucker, thought-about to be the CBC’s first Black journalist, is being inducted into the CBC Information Corridor of Fame.

Tucker started his profession with CBC in Toronto’s radio newsroom, later transferring to Montreal, and continued as a reporter for greater than 35 years. He concurrently labored as a radio and journalism instructor at John Abbott School for over three many years, and later authored three novels. 

Alongside his first with CBC, he’s additionally believed to be the primary Black scholar to attend Ryerson’s Faculty of Journalism, and was among the many first journalists in Canada to interrupt the information of U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. 

Tucker died in January 2019 in Montreal on the age of 87.

Tucker, proper, together with his youthful brother Benny in Bermuda within the early 1940s. Tucker got here to Canada within the 1950s when his older brother gained a educating scholarship in Toronto. (Submitted by the Tucker Household)

“[The CBC News Hall of Fame] is an opportunity for CBC Information to embrace and have fun this legacy and the people who’ve helped outline us,” Susan Marjetti, CBC’s normal supervisor of reports, present affairs and native, mentioned in a information launch. “Fairly merely, Ernest Tucker made a distinction in lots of people’s lives at CBC.”

Three of Tucker’s kids — Rebecca, Jasmin and Julien — will attend the digital ceremony Tuesday afternoon as their father is posthumously honoured. 

Humble observer

Initially born in Bermuda, Tucker moved to Canada within the 1950s, and shortly after began working on the now-defunct Toronto Telegram newspaper. 

He left to work at CBC in 1961, the place his daughter Rebecca Servin says he liked getting a front-row seat to historic occasions — even when he hardly ever appeared astonished by them. That features the civil rights motion of the 1960s, the FLQ kidnapping of British diplomat James Cross, and even John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 “bed-in for peace.”

WATCH | Ernest Tucker experiences on Black warfare resistors:

Ernest Tucker was a reporter for CBC who started his profession in his native Bermuda within the 1950s. 4:32

At that occasion, the not too long ago married couple invited press to their Montreal lodge room, as they stayed in mattress for per week to protest the Vietnam Battle. Servin mentioned that, as was typical of her father, Tucker had a matter-of-fact approach of describing the expertise. 

“I requested him about that as a result of I assumed he’d be excited to speak about it,” she mentioned. “And he simply goes: ‘Yeah, they had been in mattress.'” 

Tucker was a CBC reporter in Montreal, and is seen right here at a information convention with the mayor on the time, Jean Drapeau. (Submitted by Jeannette Tucker)

“He liked being the place the motion was … [but] he by no means actually spoke about his ‘cherry on high of the ice cream’ expertise on the CBC … He wasn’t a braggart. He simply saved to himself and saved on transferring.”

Servin mentioned he had the same approach of describing the hardships he confronted in being among the many first Black folks within the Canadian journalism trade. He was hesitant to deliver up his experiences with racism together with his kids, she mentioned, however did encourage them to benefit from any alternative offered to them.

“He would not actually say ‘I had it so unhealthy. They hated me as a result of I used to be Black,'” Servin mentioned. “He’d all the time say: ‘Look, it is a massive world on the market. And if you’d like one thing, simply work laborious. Examine. Place confidence in your self, and you may get what you need.'”

Previous Corridor of Fame inductees

The CBC Information Corridor of Fame was established 5 years in the past as a solution to honour those that have “demonstrated an enduring impression on the CBC and Canadian journalism.” Tucker would be the seventh inductee, following 2019’s twin honourees Matthew Halton and Peter Stursberg, who had been correspondents for the CBC through the Second World Battle.   

Former anchor and The Nationwide chief correspondent Knowlton Nash was the primary to be inducted in 2015. He was adopted by CBC international correspondent Joe Schlesinger in 2016, CBC Radio’s As It Occurs host Barbara Frum in 2017, and journalist and broadcast govt Trina McQueen in 2018.

As a “huge plaque collector,” Servin mentioned her father could be overjoyed on the induction. The honour could be the “crown jewel” of the awards and certificates he saved, which dated all the way in which again to highschool.

Tucker together with his first novel, Underworld Dwellers, which was revealed in 1994. (Submitted by Jeannette Tucker)

Nonetheless, she mentioned, the ceremony might be bittersweet. 

“I simply want greater than something he was right here even only for an hour to witness this, as a result of this is able to be the happiest second of his life,” she mentioned. “He isn’t, and since we all know that, my brother, sister and I are going to go and find out how joyful he could be, and we’ll be that joyful ourselves. As a result of he is our father, and he did every little thing to make us joyful.”


For extra tales concerning the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success tales throughout the Black group — take a look at Being Black in Canada, a CBC undertaking Black Canadians may be happy with. You can read more stories here.

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