Portrait of a women
Portia May White, 1946
© Yousuf Karsh, Library and Archives Canada, PA-192783

Portia May White was designated as a national historic person in 1995.

Historical importance: Acclaimed vocalist from the Black Nova Scotian community.

Commemorative plaque: 454 Prince Street, Truro, Nova Scotia

The first African-Canadian woman to win international acclaim, contralto Portia White had a remarkable career on the concert stage. Born to a musical family, she was taught to sing by her mother and sang in the choir of this church where her father was pastor. Her talent was nurtured by the Halifax Ladies' Musical Club and Dr. Ernesto Vinci of the Halifax Conservatory. Between 1940 and 1948 her debuts in Toronto and New York, and recitals across North and South America and in the Caribbean became a source of pride for all Canadians.

This plaque text describing the historical significance of the subject was approved by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1997.

 

Large house with commemorative plaque in front
Location of plaque commemorating Portia May White, Zion United Baptist Church, Truro, Nova Scotia
© Parks Canada, 2010
 
Commemorative bronze plaque
HSMBC commemorarive plaque, Portia May White National Historic Person, Zion United Baptist Church, Truro, Nova Scotia
© Parks Canada, 2010

The National Program of Historical Commemoration relies on the participation of Canadians in the identification of places, events and persons of national historic significance. Any member of the public can nominate a topic for consideration by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

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