N.S. celebration of black history beset by hate graffiti
A celebration of the black history of a former town in Halifax was marred by the discovery of racist graffiti throughout the park hosting the event.
As former residents of Africville and their descendants set up tents and trailers in Seaview Park for the annual event, they discovered at least five picnic benches with disturbing messages scrawled across them.
"Seaview park belongs to Whites," one read, while another said, "Kill all black children."
There was a visible police presence Saturday as the celebrations continued, andpolice are investigating the graffiti as a hate crime. No arrests have been made.
But the crime has cast a shadow on the weekend celebration remembering the poor but proud black community that existed at the site for about 150 years.
For some, the graffiti ripped open old wounds.
"The whole situation around Africville and the destruction of our community was racist based, and for us to go there and see this type of hate literature really harkens back to the days of slavery," said Irvine Carvery, a spokesperson for the Africville Genealogical Society.
In the 1960s, the City of Halifax, citing health concerns, relocated the community's 400 residents and bulldozed their homes to build a bridge across the harbour.
In 2002, the federal government declared Africville a national historic site and expressed regret over the evictions.
"For this to be occurring today in Halifax and Canada is appalling," said Carvery.
The graffiti has been covered with a fresh coat of paint, but many say the incident points to an underlying racism that prevails.