Portia May White National Historic Person (1911-1968)

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.


Portrait of a women
Portia May White, 1946
© Yousuf Karsh, Library and Archives Canada, PA-192783
Commemorative bronze plaque
HSMBC commemorarive plaque, Portia May White National Historic Person, Zion United Baptist Church, Truro, Nova Scotia
© Parks Canada, 2010
Large house with commemorative plaque in front
Location of plaque commemorating Portia May White, Zion United Baptist Church, Truro, Nova Scotia
© Parks Canada, 2010

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