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Africville declared a national historic site

The Story

 On July 5, 2002, Heritage Minister Sheila Copps declares the former neighbourhood known as Africville a national historic site. The official recognition comes 35 years after Halifax officials razed the community in the name of "urban renewal," uprooting its 400 black residents. The forced relocation meant an entire generation suffered because of the city's actions, reports CBC's Thomas Ledwell. "This is a happy event for some but yet this is a sad event for me ... to think I lost my birthplace for a park," says Dr. Ruth Johnson, who was in her 50s when her home was levelled.

Medium: Radio
Program: The World At Six
Broadcast Date: July 5, 2002
Guests: Eddie Carvery, Ruth Johnson
Host: Barbara Smith
Reporter: Thomas Ledwell
Duration: 2:03

Did You know?

• Africville was a small settlement that former American slaves established in Nova Scotia after the War of 1812.
• The history of Africville can be traced back to 1838 when descendants of American slaves settled on the northern edge of Halifax. It was initially known as Campbell Road but because of its black population it was quickly dubbed Africville.
• Africville was situated on the edge of Halifax, on the Bedford Basin, in the north end of the city. Its population never numbered more than 400.
• By the late 1960s, years of neglect and racism had turned Halifax's oldest and largest black neighbourhood one of the worst slums in the country. City officials decided to raze Africville to make way for a new suspension bridge from Halifax to Dartmouth.
• The site of Africville is now known as Seaview Park.
• In 2005, a bill called the Africville Act was introduced in the Nova Scotia legislature. The bill called for a formal apology from the Nova Scotia government, a series of public hearings on the destruction of Africville, and a fund to preserve Africville lands and social development for former residents and their descendants. The city of Halifax has offered land and money to build a replica of the Seaview Church, which was the heart of Africville.



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