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The Spirit of Africville

Donald Clairmont

The Spirit of Africville


After many years of denial, the Halifax's city government has finally acknowledged the wrongs that were done to the residents and the community of Africville, and has agreed to make amends for its actions.

This extensively illustrated book was prepared by the Africville Genealogy Society and published originally in 1992. Long out of print, it is being republished in a new expanded edition to mark the settlement arrived at this year.

The resistance and the protests of former Africville residents have ensured that their experiences were not forgotten or ignored. For more than 150 years, Africville was a community of African Nova Scotian families. In the 1960s, Halifax's city government decided to acquire the land and demolish the houses. Africville was demolished, but the spirit of the community lived on. The Halifax Regional Municipality publically apologized in early 2010 to the former Africville residents and descendants for what they endured. A settlement was made with the Africville Genealogy Society to "commemorate the past and take positive steps for the future."

This book tells the story of Africville in words and pictures. This edition includes many never-before-seen colour and black and white photographs of the residents and their community. The text includes an account of the origins of Nova Scotia's Black residents, a history of Africville itself and an account of the events leading up to its demolition. Many key participants in the events of the 1960s offer their reflections on the destruction of the community, highlighting the lessons learned from a decision widely considered to be wrong -- even by those who supported and implemented it at the time. An afterword tells of the long but ultimately successful effort to have these wrongs acknowledged and a measure of restitution made.

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