Nova Scotia

Decades of African Nova Scotian life put on display in 1983 art exhibit

Henry Bishop speaks to Neil Copeland about photos of African Nova Scotians featured in Mount Saint Vincent University's 1983 art exhibit The Past in Focus.

Henry Bishop spoke to the CBC's Neil Copeland about the photos

One of the photographs of African Nova Scotian life featured in the 1983 exhibit The Past in Focus at the MSVU Art Gallery. (CBC Archives)

In this 1983 episode of Heritage, the CBC's Neil Copeland interviews Henry Bishop about a collection of historical photos of African Nova Scotians at Mount Saint Vincent University's art gallery in Halifax.

The photos were included in an exhibit entitled The Past in Focus.

Bishop, who was born in Weymouth Falls, N.S., was the curator of the Black Cultural Centre in Dartmouth at the time — a position he held from 1983 to 2012.

He curated and helped collect the photographs, which depicted the daily lives of Black Nova Scotians from 1890 to 1933. 

The segment begins with a video shot 23 years earlier — in 1960 — of a group singing in Weymouth, N.S., for the CBC Halifax production Land of the Old Songs.

1983 exhibit of historical African Nova Scotian photos

1 year ago
Duration 5:28


For suggestions on content to feature in CBC's online collection of African Nova Scotian archival material, please email

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.