Nova Scotia

Saint Mary's University home to 50 years of newspaper clippings

Fifty years of newspaper clippings now have a home at Saint Mary's University's archive library, as the Lynn Jones African-Canadian and Diaspora Heritage Collection.

Lynn Jones African-Canadian and Diaspora Heritage Collection open to the public

Nova Scotia activist Lynn Jones started clipping newspaper stories as a child. The history she collected will form an online archive for the public. (Kyah Sparks/CBC)

Nova Scotia activist Lynn Jones has collected newspaper clippings for 50 years.

Those now have a home in the archives at the library of Saint Mary's University, as the Lynn Jones African-Canadian and Diaspora Heritage Collection.

Eighteen boxes full of history are now accessible to the public. The boxes are being inventoried at the university so its contents can be part of an online searchable database called MemoryNS.

The curated collection of newspaper clippings contain stories about black people from around the world. (Kyah Sparks/CBC)

Nelson Mandela's election

Dozens of categories are featured in the collection, such as Nova Scotia black leadership, environmental racism and Nova Scotia black communities.

The collection also includes a ballot from the 1994 South African election that made Nelson Mandela president. Jones was a Canadian election observer in South Africa.

Jones grew up in Truro watching family and community members collect newspaper articles.

Lynn Jones saved a vote ballot from the election of Nelson Mandela. (Kyah Sparks/CBC)

'Very rarely in the news'

She started building her collection at eight years old, when she got to cut her picture out of the newspaper. Since the 1960s, she has saved thousands of clippings of local, national and international African news, as well as other historical material.

"Always was there was a connection to the black community, no matter what," Jones said.

It was exciting to Jones when black people were mentioned in the paper because "African people, we're very rarely in the news."

She kept the newspapers in her home to avoid them being destroyed.

Lynn Jones collected 18 boxes of newspaper clippings. (Kyah Spark/CBC)

'Incredible opportunity'

Space became limited to her growing collection, so she turned to Val Johnson, a historian at the university who got it into the archive.

"This is an incredible opportunity for Saint Mary's, for our students, for our faculty, for researchers and for the community," Johnson said.

People are encouraged to use the archive for research or to find family history. Another professor at Saint Mary's, Benita Bunjun, is already using obituaries from the archive in her class.

Jones will no longer be clipping news articles, but she said she'll likely still save the odd article or two.


Kyah Sparks


Kyah Sparks is a reporter/editor with CBC Nova Scotia. Born and raised in East Preston, N.S., she has worked in television and digital news in Halifax.