The story of Africville, a vibrant community torn apart and razed by the city of Halifax in the 1960s, is a story of loss and resilience, says Juanita Peters, general manager of the Africville Museum.
“Yes, the city of Halifax took the houses away, took the church away, took the land away. But when you see Africvillians come back on this land, you realize the real power is in their spirit, in how they continue to connect with each other – and in how they want to connect with you.”
“If you are in Nova Scotia,” she urges, “it would be wise to visit Africville because we have a story that nobody can tell.”
We are united through this. A lot of what happened here in Africville happens everywhere in the world to Black communities. This is our shared history so we cannot just ignore it.”
Some comments from youths:
“It’s scary to think a whole population can be moved. It reminded me of the Indigenous people and how that happened here, too.”
What was most surprising is that they actually have pictures of people in Africville. You know, to see that pictures existed when that happening is like wow, that’s wild. It goes to show that there is still racism in Canada as much as people say there isn’t. We’ve made a lot of progress compared to other countries but there is still a long way to go. It’s a history people should know about.”
Marcus Carvery is a third generation descendent of Africville:
“My grandfather was born and raised here. He isn’t very vocal about what happened, but it’s very, very obvious that he still loves his community. This is his home and it always will be.
I’m the only one of his grandchildren to take a big interest in Africville and for me to work at the museum, it shows him that this story is still here, it’s being told. The community is still here and the spirit lives on.
There is something about being on this land, being here by the water, it just makes you feel safe, it makes you feel calm. Just knowing that there’s love here, there always has been, and always will be, it’s a unique experience.”
“I had done projects on Africville as a kid in elementary school. What stood out was the sense of family community before Africville was demolished and torn apart. Everyone, it’s not just Black people, it’s everybody, it’s a family community, and it was very welcoming. That’s something I never really grew up with, or looked out for in different communities that I grew up in living in Ottawa. Coming here and seeing it in person, it was absolutely out of this world.”