Reverend John Holland (1882 - 1954)
Reverend John Holland used faith, hope, and determination to minister to those around him. Born in Hamilton in 1882, the son of a runaway slave was raised in a time when racial discrimination still ran deep in Canada. For 33 years he worked as a railway porter - one of the few fields open to Black men during that time. He was promoted first to head porter and then to the prestigious position of private car attendant. During his many years with the railway he became close friends with a number of regular passengers. In 1924, he became an ordained minister. Reverend Holland was the first African Canadian to be honoured as Hamilton's distinguished citizen of the year in 1953.