Deborah Miller-Brown was the first Black Nova Scotian to compete at the Olympics

This story is part of a series of Commissionaires Nova Scotia blog posts celebrating the achievements of Black Nova Scotians for African Heritage Month.  

Deborah Miller-Brown is a Canadian track star born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1951. She began her track career at age 11 in Brantford, Ontario by setting numerous track records at the secondary school level. 

In 1968, at the young age of 17, Deborah became the first Black Nova Scotian to participate in the Olympics. She was also one of the youngest track participants at the Olympics. Her participation at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico was made possible when the local residents of Brantford fundraised to cover the costs of her trip.

Although Deborah did not win a medal, she set a time that led her to be ranked eighth-best in the world. Upon returning from the Olympics, she received a Medal of Excellence in Sports from Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. 

Deborah is currently coaching the track and field team at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.