Publications in memory of Kenneth Melville
The Christie v. York Landmark Legal Battle
Dr. Melville’s involvement in the community went beyond science. He was notably involved in raising funds for Fred Christie to fight against racial discrimination in the historic Christie v. York legal battle in the 1930s. Fred Christie was a Black chauffeur and a Montrealer for over 20 years. A committed hockey fan he had season tickets for the Montreal’s Canadians. On Saturday July 11th, 1936 he went with friends to the York Tavern on the ground floor of the Forum and was denied service based on the color of his skin. This sparked a legal fight to challenge racial discrimination by private enterprise that went all the way up to the Supreme Court. Dr. Melville chaired a committee that raised the funds necessary for this legal odyssey. Unfortunately, in 1939 the Supreme Court ultimately sided with the York corporation, effectively confirming that it was legal for private businesses to discriminate based on race. This battle was thus lost, and Christie ended up moving to Vermont. But the battle continued with the like of Viola Desmond and others. The fight against discrimination eventually made gains locally with cities and provinces passing laws. It was not until 1963 that Quebec enacted the Hotels Act that would make this type of discrimination illegal. Once again, Dr. Melville was well ahead of his time, but on the right side of history.
(Source: The African Canadian Legal Odyssey: Historical Essays, Edited by Barrington Walker, University of Toronto Press, 2012, Ch7. The Law’s Confirmation of Racial Inferiority: Christie v. York, James W. St.G. Walker p. 243-323)
MCGILL PUBLICATIONS – November 2021
A new summer research bursary in memory of Kenneth Melville, BSc'26, MDCM'26, MSc'31, gives undergraduates from under-represented communities an opportunity to explore pharmacology and therapeutics as a career path.
MCGILL PUBLICATIONS – August 2020
Trailblazing McGill alumnus Dr. Kenneth Melville inspires bursary project aimed at increasing diversity in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
MCGILL PUBLICATIONS - February 2016 (Originally published in "Medicine in Focus", November 2017)
Announcing the Melville Undergraduate Research Bursary in Pharmacology by Professor Bastien Castagner
MCGILL PUBLICATIONS - February 2016