New Brunswick Black History Society


AB Walker

Abraham Beverley Walker (1851-1909) was Canada’s First Canadian-Born Black lawyer (1881). Walker was also the first law student of any colour enrolled at UNB, as well as the first Black New Brunswicker to Publish a Magazine (1903).

Abraham Beverley Walker was born in Belleisle, NB in 1851 and was of Loyalist descent.  He appears to have attended school in Kingston, on the Kingston peninsula, the former shiretown of Kings County.

As a young man, Walker worked as a stenographer and secretary for a touring lecturer in various provinces of Canada. Walker attended the National University in Washington, DC, a small institution that became part of George Washington University. He then studied law with a lawyer in Saint John and supported himself as a shorthand reporter. Walker was recognized as an attorney by the Supreme Court of New Brunswick in 1881; a year later he was admitted to the bar as a barrister. Unable to earn a living representing Saint John’s small Black community, he also faced racial discrimination from his white colleagues. Undeterred, Walker was active in the community, including the African Methodist Episcopalian Church, and his many letters were published in local newspapers. His wife operated a shop in Saint John. For a brief period he tried his prospects in Atlanta, Georgia, where he published the pamphlet The Negro Problem, or the Philosophy of Race Development. He returned to study at the Saint John Law School, enrolling as its first student. The school was later absorbed by the University of New Brunswick.  It would take almost 70 years before another Black student would enter the UNB Law School. 

Between 1893 and 1899 he served as the librarian for the Saint John Law Society. Walker was active in federal politics, and worked for both the Conservative and the Liberal parties. In 1903 he was responsible for another ‘first’: the literary and public affairs magazine Neith, named after the ancient Egyptian goddess of war, the hunt and wisdom. The publication, which was advertised as a Canadian, not a Black journal, folded after five issues. His last crusade was his interest in the African Civilization Movement, which aimed to recruit educated and skilled Blacks from Canada and other developed nations to build a model colony for Blacks in Africa. Abraham Beverly Walker died of tuberculosis in 1909. 

Skip Talbot


Skip was born in Truro, Nova Scotia in 1932, and was raised in Saint John, New Brunswick. Skip completed his education at the Saint John Vocational School, which resulted in a certificate of proficiency in radio, second class, in 1953. His professional career was in the field of Telecommunications and Electronics and was employed for many years with Transport Canada in Quebec, Labrador and New Brunswick. He advanced from electronics technician in 1960 to maintenance supervisor in 1973, serving in a bilingual capacity. While working in the Atlantic Regional Office in Moncton, Skip moved from the Maintenance Branch to the Telecommunications Branch where he worked as a Regional Data Transfer Technologist until his

retirement in 1989.  Dedicated to advancing equality and cross-cultural understanding, he has served in an executive role with the Multicultural Association of Greater Moncton, the New Brunswick Multicultural Council and PRUDE Inc. and has been active in briefing government and the Canadian Bar Association on immigration, anti-racism initiatives and other social justice causes.  Skip resides in Riverview, New Brunswick with his wife Patricia.

The NBBHS would like to acknowledge that during our research we required information stating that James (Skip) Talbot was the first member of the Black Community of Canada to hold the position of Radio Operator/Flight Service Specialist for Transport Canada and the first to hold a bilingual position as a Maintenance Supervisor in Communications while stationed in Sept-Iles, QC.

(Photos courtesy of James (Skip) Talbot)