Black History Month

Black History Month – Africville, Nova Scotia

Home is where the heart is and their hearts were in Africville.

Africville was a Halifax community from the 1840s until the 1960s. All that remains now is a park and some people. The park is currently called Seaview Park (the church in Africville was called Seaview African Baptist Church). The former residents, mainly of African descent, and their offspring often hold reunions to gather and reminisce.

According to perceptions of ‘ideal’ living standards the conditions in Africville were akin to that of a ghetto. The people, however, were proud to be part of a close-knit and self-sufficient community where they owned the land and did not depend on welfare. Though the residents paid taxes to the City, the City did not provide them with basic services such as water, sewage and decent roads. Instead, the City located a dump, prison and hospital for infectious diseases by the community. A railway was also built and cut through the middle of the community.

City planners decided to demolish Africville in the 1960s in spite of the protests of residents and their supporters. The residents were relocated and often ended up in worse conditions and on welfare.

One cannot mention Black History Month and Canada without discussing Africville. It is a complex study in social policy and  government intersecting with discrimination. Sadder still is the fact that many Canadians are not made aware of this reprehensible part of their country’s history.
Though Canada generally has a good reputation world-wide it is not without some tarnished bits. Travelling to this country, in particular Halifax, Nova Scotia one cannot truly experience its history without remembering Africville.

Links:
Africville The Spirit Lives On (website)
Africville Museum
Remember Africville A NFB (National Film Board) documentary

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