Michael Kwesie Bimpeh-Segu
Michael Kwesie Bimpeh-Segu laughs easily and often. Together with his wife, Anne, they raised a family of four children and have five grandchildren. Their perseverance in Saskatchewan since 1964 has been rewarded with both professional and personal success.
In 1951 Michael entered Xavier University on a scholarship awarded to him by the Reverend Mother Agatha, President of the University. At his graduation, having obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in pre-Medicine and maintaining his scholarship, Michael received two high awards: the Xavier University Gold Medal Service award for outstanding service, and the National Alpha Phi Omega Gold Medal for distinguished national service for Blacks.
As a Gold Coast student who obtained a degree in pre-medicine, Michael received a Cocoa Marketing Board scholarship from Ghana and went on to study medicine at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons at St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin, Ireland. There he met and married Anne Bernadette McGrenery in 1959. While in Dublin the medical school advertised that the Province of Saskatchewan was seeking physicians. He applied and was accepted into a junior rotating internship program at the Regina General Hospital in 1964.
Thereafter he worked with the Department of National Health and Welfare in Fort Qu’Appelle at the Indian Hospital. Here he was much appreciated by the First Nations people who gave him a honourary title of Chief Little Black Bear. The children and grandchildren of these First Nations people continue to come to him for their medical care even today.
Michael is quick to point out the initial shock of Saskatchewan’s smaller communities including Regina, as he was accustomed to large, cosmopolitan centers such as Accra, London, and Dublin. He is also quick to point out that he has always felt very welcomed here. Colleagues and friends have always been very supportive of their inter-racial marriage. Indeed, he and his wife have been invited to many of Regina’s major social events including the Royal Visit of Princess Anne in 1982.
In Saskatchewan, if racism existed he looked past it and refused to be treated “less than.” In the late sixties, Saskatchewanians had little interaction with Black people. They were curious; one woman walked up to him in a store and touched his hair to see what it felt like. So lacking in interaction with Blacks, another wanted to see whether Black people really had tails!
Michael believes “a man has to believe in himself” and then just, “do, do, do.” In his earlier years he was involved in track and field, boxing, cricket, soccer, and ballroom dancing. He continues to enjoy an active life.
Michael was also involved in politics serving for a time on the Executive of the Conservative Party for Saskatchewan. He traveled throughout rural Saskatchewan in the late sixties to promote the Conservative agenda contributing his perspective as a Black person. Michael attended a Conservative Leadership Convention in Toronto where he met the Honourable John Diefenbaker. Diefenbaker was defeated as leader of the party then. However, when they met again years later Diefenbaker followed up by writing Michael a personal and kindhearted letter which he treasures to this day.
In 1980 Michael was supported by the Lt. Governor of Saskatchewan, C. Irwin McIntosh and His Excellency the Most Reverend Angelo Palmas of the Apostolic Nuniciature in Ottawa, for consideration as honourary Consul of Ghana, for the Province of Saskatchewan.
Michael has also worked with several generations of surgeons. He has contributed his knowledge and experience to Black newcomers in the medical profession. His medical practice continues to flourish as he now serves the third generation of many Saskatchewan families.
His wife has supported him over the years in welcoming Black newcomers who are coping with a new environment by opening their home to them. Together, Michael and Anne are proud they managed to educate three of their children as lawyers and one in the arts. One of the four represented Saskatchewan at the Goodwill Games, another represented Saskatchewan as Miss Saskatoon at the Miss Canada Pageant.
Michael was deeply touched when recognized by the Black History Month Committee for his contribution to the Black community in Regina.
Life in Saskatchewan
Immigrated in 1964
Born 6 July 1924 in Accra, Gold Coast / Ghana