I tried to get an image to share but...I can’t get google to cooperate so balls.
Alright, I know it’s been a bit but I got busy so lets try to dive in.
So I want to expand a little on the efforts made to remove the residents from Africville and then talk a little a bit about what the families have been up to since eviction. And then I think I’ll leave it there so I can move on to the Maroons and hopefully cover some of the prairies before the month ends and I want to get to Windsor, ON as well.
Okay so when the NS gov’t decided to be rid of the residents they tried a multitude of things. They ran the railroad (literally) through town, they set up a waste disposal and eventually a prison(1). They then offered payment; anyone with a deed would receive the equivalent and without a deed a couple hundred dollars. Lastly the city used (legal) expropriation. It took the city quite some time but the last resident was finally evicted “relocated” in the early seventies.
The community itself resisted every effort for as long as possible creating a self sustaining community centred around the church. Despite the conditions they made a life and home. And they even survived the Halifax Explosion(2,3), two tankers in the harbour collided- one had oil- big boom, which razed many houses in the area surrounding the harbour.
The relocation itself was difficult because now the residents had to integrate within unknown (read white) communities(4). And many of those communities didn’t want them (because they are Black), they faced more challenges without the comfort or support of the community they once built. Added to that the city was half arsed in it’s efforts to relocate and support the residents. And, because many of those that lived there were employed in the domestic and service fields they didn’t have a large income as a safety net. Nor did they have the formal education due to the city not providing infrastructure support (ie including education) so while they did receive education it wasn’t public sanctioned. So the eviction hit them hard. Racism, lack of resources, loss of land/house value, lack of formal education, and employment opportunities created an impoverished situation they weren’t prepared for, took away their Independence. Some ended up receiving public assistance and residing in public housing, inheriting all that comes with being trapped in the system.
They relocated all over the city and province some going to North Preston (predominate Black neighbourhood to this day), Uniacke Square, Guysborough, Annapolis Valley, etc. Each area has it’s own history btw. I’ll add bonus links. Maybe one day I’ll tell you about those areas.
Through out the seventies and eighties and beyond the families of the former residents have fought for recognition and reparations. And just so you know the city never did develop the land, today it’s a park and a few years ago it was dedicated to the memory of Africville. They sued the city, and every year Eddie Carvery camped out during the anniversary. It was only recently that the families were awarded some three million dollars (towards the building of a new church) and recognition in reparations for what was done to them. Personally, the gov’t should have done better -but not my fight and I doubt the city was prepared to give the land back even it is just sitting empty (5).
Frankly it’s good chance that Black Americans have a connection to Africville and maybe it will come up when you search your family tree.
Bonus: Uniacke Square https://oldnorthend.wordpress.com/category/history/