Artworks and Artists
Negro (Tommy Simmons)

Negro (Tommy Simmons),
Wheeler, Orson
67 x 34.5 x 45 cm


Tommy Simmons (1896-1972) was born in Montreal and lived in the Saint Antoine district, known as Little Burgundy. He became well known and highly regarded in the city's African- Canadian community through his involvement in women's amateur sports. For twenty years he managed and coached women's championship baseball, hockey, and broom-ball teams that played across Canada and the United States. In the early 1950s he coached an African-Canadian girls' baseball team, the Brown Dodgers. The name of the team changed to the Dodgers when he included players from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Simmons was one of the few bilingual people in the black community at that time, having learned French from his mother, who came from the Gaspé and was of Mi'Kmaq and African heritage. For over thirty years Simmons was employed as a sleeping-car porter with the Canadian Pacific Railway, travelling to many cities across Canada. He also ran a training school for sleeping-car porters.