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Marlene Green (1940-2002)

Marlene Green

Born in Dominica, Marlene Green came to Canada in the 1960s.

Spurred on by the concerns of Black parents about streaming in Toronto schools, high drop-out rates, and the lack of quality education to which Black children and youth had access, she founded the Black Education Project (BEP) in the late 1960s, the height of Caribbean immigration to Toronto. Among other things, the BEP provided tutoring to Black students and helped in their affirmation of their African heritage.

The Black Education Project became a hub for Black activism and a number of educational programs. BEP not only advocated for Black students, it also provided after school programs, summer camps, and helped orient parents to the Toronto school system. BEP also organized protests against racism in Toronto schools, in policing, and in the workplace.

In the 1970s, Marlene headed up the Brotherhood Community Centre Project, an organization that was being developed to address some of the challenges facing the Black community. The goal was to establish a physical community centre that would house many organizations to support the varied needs of African Canadians.

Marlene became a school/community relations officer at the Toronto Board of Education. There she co-wrote the first report on race relations in the education system. Through her work she supported the board's examination of and response to the disproportionate educational outcomes for African Canadian students.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Marlene headed CUSO in the Caribbean and east, central and southern Africa, where she supported anti-apartheid work. She was in this role in Grenada when the United States invaded the island in 1983, following the assassination of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.