Historian & Author

dorothy_photo Dorothy Williams, Ph.D., is a historian who specializes in Black Canadian history. She has authored three books, and has contributed to other scholarly and academic publications. Her first book was Blacks in Montreal: 1628-1986 An Urban Demography, was written at the behest of the Quebec Human Rights Commission, in 1989, during their study of racism in Montreal’s housing market. Her second work published in 1997, The Road to Now: A History of Blacks in Montreal, remains the only chronological study of Blacks on the island of Montreal. Her most recent book in 1998, Les Noirs à Montréal, Essai de démographie urbaine, was a translation of Blacks in Montreal. While studying for her Ph.D., she contributed chapters on Black Canadian print culture, for two volumes of The History of the Book in Canada, (University of Toronto, 2005, 2007). Her thesis, “Sankofa: Recovering Montreal’s Heterogeneous Black Print Serials”, (McGill University, 2006) focused specifically on the range of Black print culture in Montreal. In addition, she has penned popular articles in magazines and newspapers.


Local schools, colleges, and universities often invite Dorothy to deliver auditorium addresses, classroom lectures, seminars, as well as to conduct teacher and librarian workshops. She has also given public presentations in dozens off venues, from bookstores and cafés to community centers, museums and libraries.


With the objective of making Black history accessible for all, Dorothy’s long-term research has concentrated on the creation of popular reference materials about Black history in Canada. In 2006, Dorothy established Inc., specifically to create a comprehensive on-line bibliographic record of the historical presence of Blacks in Canada.

Content Developer

Dorothy’s unique historical knowledge is in demand in many diverse fields. She has consulted on several films such as NFB’s award winning production of Show Girls, 1998 and Martine Chartrand’s, Black Soul/Âme Noire, (NFB, 2001). She also researched and wrote the content for the website, Historians Recount/Les historien(ne)s racontent, (October 2003).

Community Consultant & Volunteer

Dorothy grew up in the historic Black community of Little Burgundy in Montréal. She has acquired over 20 years of work and volunteer experience within the community and is often called by organizations to consult on matters of importance. For many years, Dorothy had volunteered as community archivist for the Black Studies Center and lent her expertise to the Atwater Library. Currently she is Operations and Fund Development Manager at Desta Black Youth Network. Her interests and services lie in the areas of history, identity and race, gender, family support, housing, empowerment, anti-gang intervention, entrepreneurship and education.