Nova Scotia·Audio

What reparations for Africville could look like

CBC Radio’s Mainstreet went back in the archives to hear from Denise Allen and Sen. Wanda Thomas Bernard about what reparations mean and what they could look like in the context of Africville.

An hour-long segment from CBC Radio's Mainstreet about Africville and its future

The original church in Africville fronted onto an unpaved road. The church was destroyed in the middle of the night in 1967. (Halifax Regional Municipality Archives)

For Denise Allen, a child of Africville, reparations are about rebuilding the community that once stood in north-end Halifax before it was expropriated and demolished more than 50 years ago.

Allen grew up picking berries and playing in the waters of the Bedford Basin. She's now involved in an effort to get a class-action lawsuit certified, and is asking hundreds of other former Africville residents and descendants what reparations mean to them. 

The seaside community was demolished and its residents were forced to relocate in 1967 to make room for the MacKay Bridge. There have long been calls for the land to be returned and for reparations to be paid. 

"I want to be made whole. I want to be restored," Allen told CBC Radio's Mainstreet in an interview earlier this year.

Mainstreet revisited recent conversations with Allen, as well as Sen. Wanda Thomas Bernard, to explore what reparations mean and what they could look like in the context of Africville.

The segment also includes archival audio about the community from the 1970s. 

Listen to the show's hour-long segment here:

With files from CBC Radio's Mainstreet