CNHS - Africville - Halifax, NS
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member BK-Hunters
N 44° 40.421 W 063° 37.161
20T E 450909 N 4946888
Quick Description: One of the darker periods in Canadian history is the story of Halifax's Africville and the treatment of the African Canadians who lived there.
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Date Posted: 3/19/2016 10:49:23 PM
Waymark Code: WMQQPP
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 2

Long Description:
Many former American slaves who immigrated to Canada gravitated to the city of Halifax, creating a community on the edge of town which became known as Africville. Segregated into what was essentially a ghetto on the north western corner of downtown Halifax, the inhabitants were subjected to terrible living conditions for over a century, until their neighbourhood was bulldozed, leaving them homeless and destitute.

This CNHS plaque has been mounted at the Seaview African United Baptist Church at the south end of Seaview Park, aka Africville Park, along Africville road. The church is a replica of the original Africville Church, built by the residents of Africville in 1849. Within the church is the Africville Museum, a museum which attempts to relate the story of the residents of Africville. Read more of the Africville story below.

For over a century African Canadians settled here, developing an independent community centred around church and family. As part of the urban renewal projects of the 1960s, officials introduced a plan to level the community and relocate its residents. The community mobilized and even though no buildings were saved, Africville became a symbol of the ongoing struggle by African Canadians to defend their culture and their rights. Seaview Park, created on the site as a memorial to Africville, speaks to the enduring significance of community.

From the CNHS Plaque

Photo goes Here

Africville Today

Africville, Halifax

Africville was a small settlement that former American slaves established in Nova Scotia after the War of 1812. It was situated on the edge of Halifax, on the Bedford Basin, in the north end of the city. Its occupants never numbered more than about 400. From the time of its founding in the 1840s until well into the twentieth century, they owned their land, worked at various jobs, fished and raised crops to survive. There were a few core families, and community life was tightly knit, centred around the church. While the majority of Halifax's Black population did not live in Africville, it was home to those who wanted to live in privacy, relatively free from the racist attitudes of the predominantly white population.

In a time when people of colour had no human rights or political voice, Africville's residents experienced the direct and severe effects of discrimination. Officials placed no value on their interests and concerns. As a result, essential institutions and facilities that other neighbourhoods rejected were placed on the doorstep of Africville – Rockhead Prison (1853), the city's night soil disposal pits (1858), an Infectious Disease Hospital (during the 1870s), a Trachoma Hospital (1905), and finally, an open city dump and incinerator (in the early 1950s). The city encouraged smelly, dirty industries to locate near Africville, and failed to install water service, sewage or lights. The lack of adequate fire or police protection reflected the city's serious neglect of the residents of Africville. This neglect paved the way for illegal liquor and entertainment enterprises, and a range of squatters.

Africville was destroyed between 1964 and 1969. By the time Halifax began a series of ambitious post-war renewal projects in the early 1960s, the community had come to be regarded as a notorious slum. Guided by social planners, the city announced that it would relocate Africville's residents, promising to give them better housing, and more equitable social and economic opportunities. Ignoring the resistance of the Africville community, Halifax expropriated the townsite, then razed it to the ground.

The residents were dispersed. It was only after they settled elsewhere that they realized they had lost the heart of their community life, their circle of support and the place where they had a sense of belonging. Inspired by the American Black Power movement, community leaders called for action. Community members spoke out against the injustice that had been committed against them, and they took pride in themselves, in Black communities and their traditions. They realized that their very survival was at stake, for Africville's citizens knew all too well that the alternative was destruction. Through their own dedicated efforts, they recovered what was left of their heritage and they spoke out about their loss, as a community.

The site where Africville was located is now a deserted park, but the spirit of Africville lives on. It has become the rallying point for Nova Scotia's Black community, and an impetus for Black people all over North America to fight racism – a symbol of the link between social well being and community heritage.
From Parks Canada

Classification: National Historic Site

Province or Territory: Nova Scotia

Location - City name/Town name: Halifax

Link to Parks Canada entry (must be on www.pc.gc.ca): [Web Link]

Link to HistoricPlaces.ca: [Web Link]

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