Africville is closed

April 22, 2017

Africville, about 1965

Africville, about 1965, Bob Brooks. Nova Scotia Archives, 1989-468, box 16. Neg. sheet 6, image 31


Africville was a part of Halifax that had been settled in the late 1700s by Black Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution. It was originally known as the African Village. Over time, a large Black community developed, with its own Baptist church, stores and farms. While the city collected taxes, it did not provide any services. It was zoned as industrial, and had slaughterhouses, waste plants, a prison, a railway and an infectious diseases hospital. This area was, however, culturally significant for its residents, who saw it as an oasis from racism. Starting in the late 1940s, Halifax began talking about removing the “slum” and redeveloping the area. The plan was finally initiated in 1964. Expropriation was quick and many found that their homes were destroyed without warning or process. The church was razed in 1967. The community was displaced, poorly compensated and set adrift. The last home was expropriated in 1969. The site was named a National Historic site in 1996.

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