In 1928 Rufus Rockhead, an entrepreneur and businessman, founded Rockhead’s Paradise, a Jazz club in the Little Burgundy neighbourhood of Montreal. Known as Montreal’s most famous black nightclub, Rockhead’s Paradise 1 was a popular hang-out for Montreal’s black community. During its fifty year tenure, Rockhead’s Paradise saw the likes of American jazz greats including Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Leadbelly, Nina Simone, Fats Waller, Dizzy Gillespie and Sammy Davis Jr. and gave career starts to people like Oscar Peterson, Oliver Jones and Billy Georgette, just to name a few.
Rufus Nathaniel Rockhead was born in Maroon Town, Jamaica sometime near the end of the
nineteenth century. Rufus came from a long line of Maroons, who fought for their independence
and freedom against British rule in Jamaica during the centuries of slavery on the island. Having
been born and raised in Maroon Town, one can assume that Rufus was taught his family’s
history and the various customs that governed Maroon Town and its people for centuries. Click here for print-friendly full article
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Interested in Black History and eradicating racism in the black community from an early age, Channon’s
keen interest and passion in these areas, helped her realize that she must do all she could to educate
others and raise awareness of the rich history of black people. An enthusiast of reading, travel and writing
poetry, Channon has an indescribable passion and thirst to not only know more about history, in
particular- slavery (historical and modern), but to educate people on these issues and to assist in stopping it from continuing! An Honours graduate, with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Caribbean Studies from the University of Toronto, a Master’s Degree in Slavery Studies from the University of Hull in the UK and a Certificate in Adult Education from George Brown College, Channon has expanded her knowledge and information about Black History and the issues that the Black community faces both locally, here in Canada and internationally. Apart from participating in conferences and workshops relating to the Black experience and history in Canada, Channon is currently the newly appointed first Vice-President for the Ontario Black History Society, where she helps the organization preserve, celebrate and spread the rich Black History of Ontario and Canada. Channon is the co-founder of Oyeniran Education Support (OyES), an educational organization created by herself and her husband and she continues to use these platforms in orientating young people about Black History. Channon Oyeniran was born in Scarborough, Ontario and currently resides in Pickering, Ontario with her husband and their son.