Brenda Thompson, author of Poor houses of Nova Scotia, on the only poor house in the province that segregated its residents based on the colour of their skins. Other poor houses did not allow the sexes to mix but allowed African-Nova Scotians and Mi’kmaq to live under one roof with white people. Not in Bridgetown though.
Today’s weekend video features a reading of Negro Cemetery, a stunning poem by Halifax poet laureate Dr. Afua Cooper. There is a lot happening here compressed in a just over two minutes.
Historian and Halifax Poet Laureate Afua Cooper on the lack of visible recognition of Black history in Halifax, and why some kind of memorialization of the many contributions of the Jamaican Maroons would be a good way to start filling that void.
Evelyn C. White reflects on a visit to the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown. “The full sweep of my thoughts on the matter have yet to unfold. But I believe that everything happens for a reason; that in a province burdened with horrific racial strife, the stark shadow of a pit “house” against the recent burst of hipster eateries in Halifax is worthy of examination. There is merit in the enterprise.”
Nova Scotia’s George Dixon was what you call a trailblazer. First Black boxing champion, period. First champ to regain his title after losing it. First person to be champion of more than one weight class. We’re talking late 1800s, early 1900s, a time of relentless racism. Here’s a video of one of his fights, and a bonus link to a wonderful website with everything Africvile.
Gottingen Street, one of Halifax main thoroughfares, used to extend into the far North End. But in 1981 Halifax Council voted that the northern segment of Gottingen Street, beyond the Young Street intersection, now be called Novalea Drive. The reasons behind that decision were tainted by racism and prejudice, and a survey of residents’ opinions conducted by the City purposely excluded most residents who lived along the street. Maybe it’s time to make things right again.
This weekend’s weekend video is an oldie but goodie about the historic African Nova Scotian communities of Lucasville and Upper Hammonds Plains. Lots of interviews with elders, lots of community spirit and mutual support.
George Barton Cutten, one of Acadia’s early presidents, is honoured on the university’s website and has a student residence named after him. Turns out the man was an ugly racist, staunch supporter of the eugenics movement, and not a fan of democracy. Is it time to rename Cutten House? Reporters Colin Mitchell and Christopher Vanderburgh present the facts.
A CBC story reporting on the fight of Lucasville residents to get the city to deal with a horse farm that they say smells up the neighborhood never mentions the community’s ancient African Nova Scotian roots. Many people in Lucasville have been vocal about their opinion that race is an important piece of the puzzle if you want to understan what is really going on here.
While members of the Black community in the Town of Shelburne are facing racist comments by a local councillor, people elsewhere in the province are not standing idly by. “Racism is like a sore, and in order to heal it got to hurt first, I guess. You feel like you don’t have a voice, and you’re feeling isolated within that sickness,” Louise Delisle told the NS Advocate.