Lesson Plan: For Teachers - Africville: The Issue of Relocation
Ask students: How do governments make decisions that affect the lives of citizens? Have students make a list of factors that they think might influence a local government to make a decision affecting a particular neighbourhood in a town or city. Explain to them that they will be using the example of the destruction of Africville and the relocation of its residents in the 1960s as a case study of a controversial government decision.
Outline the Opportunity
Allow students as much time as they require to review the material in the topic Africville: Expropriating Black Nova Scotians on the CBC Digital Archives website. They should focus in particular on the issues involved in the decision of the Halifax City Council to demolish Africville and relocate its residents in another part of the city. Students should take notes about the facts of the case, and about the arguments presented both for and against the decision by various individuals.
Revisit and Reflect
Have students form groups to discuss the facts and arguments they obtained from the topic site. Each group should prepare and present a summary of all information gathered (what were the issues, what were the arguments for each issue, what were the arguments against each issue). Each group should prepare a statement of its own position on the issue of demolition and relocation, stating reasons for that position, and present its statement to the class.
Have students discuss what alternatives Halifax City Council might have considered regarding Africville. What steps could have been taken to preserve the community intact while improving its level of social services, local economy, facilities, and so on? Why might such alternatives have been rejected at the time?