The Society

Africville's racism documented

The Coast
July 30 - August 5, 2009.

Africville: Can't Stop Now, a documentary about Eddie, Nelson and Irvine Carvery's lifelong search for compensation.
by Hilary Beaumon

You'll be fighting the women off," director Juanita Peters tells Eddie Carvery on Saturday outside his trailer along the Bedford Basin, where Africville once stood. "You'll be famous!"

Peters' new full-length documentary, Africville: Can't Stop Now, follows the personal stories of Eddie, his brother Irvine Carvery and their cousin, Nelson Carvery.

Eddie Carvery, filmmaker Juanita Peters and producer Marty Williams.
Left to right: Eddie Carvery, filmmaker Juanita Peters and producer Marty Williams.

"They were all born in Africville, they're all in their 60s today, and they've all been looking for compensation since the 1960s and 1970s, but these three men have all gone about it three very different ways," Peters explains in the same calm, narrative tone she uses in the doc. The film shows Irvine as the optimist, Nelson as the quiet supporter and Eddie as the enduring activist.

As we visit last weekend, the sun makes a rare appearance over Eddie's camp. In the doc, Peters shows how the former Africville resident has spent many bitter cold winters in his tiny trailer, feet from where Africville's Baptist Church once stood. Despite personal isolation and police pressure, he has continued the protest his mother began when he was young.

"Here it is, 2009, we still haven't been compensated, they still haven't apologized," says Eddie. "All we get are these promises and promises." Meanwhile, Irvine, who is chair of the Halifax Regional School Board, is still fighting---50 years later---for fair compensation and an apology. Now that many Africville elders have passed away, Irvine at least wants the community church rebuilt. Nelson wants the same thing as his cousins: an apology.

Africville: Can't Stop Now uses the Carverys as a case study, showing how "urban renewal" tore families, and the community, apart.

Peters and producer Marty Williams will screen the documentary at Seaview Memorial Park tonight, July 30 at 8pm, as part of the annual Africville Reunion.

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The Africville Genealogy Society gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage for this project.
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