Thursday, 21 March 2019

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.

Picture yourself as a poor person, 125 years ago in Nova Scotia. Brenda Thompson, author of a wonderful book on poor houses in Nova Scotia, on what it would take to be accepted in a poor house, a place so horrible it would always be your last resort.

There’s a wonderful new book on the history or poor houses and poor farms in Nova Scotia, written by poverty activist and frequent NS Advocate contributor Brenda Thompson. Things are better now, of course, but in a way not much has changed for people who are very poor.

While researching her new book on poor houses in Nova Scotia Brenda Thompson doesn’t let a couple of No Trespassing signs slow her down. “I’ll admit, I was so excited by the idea of getting closer to the cemetery that I took off running, leaving my husband and shoes behind. I climbed over three fences and ran barefoot across the field to get closer to the graves of the poor house inmates.”