was powerless to fight city hall
Chronicle Herald | February 25, 2010
Vaughan, Halifax’s mayor at the time, assured Africville residents that
the city would do everything in its power to make their removal from
their community as "painless as possible."
Later that same evening, Jan. 16, 1964, Halifax city council
unanimously passed a resolution paving the way for the city to acquire
all of the properties and buildings in Africville, The Mail-Star said on
July 17, 1964.
Now, 46 years later, Mayor Peter Kelly has apologized for the city’s
actions, which proved to be anything but painless for Africville
"The repercussions of what happened in Africville linger to this
day," Kelly said in the apology Wednesday. "They haunt us in the form of
lost opportunities for young people who were never nurtured in the rich
traditions, culture and heritage of Africville.
"They play out in lingering feelings of hurt and distrust, emotions
that this municipality continues to work hard with the African-Nova
Scotian community to overcome."
On a rainy night in August 1962, about 100 Africville residents
crowded into a small Baptist church in the north end and "were
unanimous" in their opposition to being moved from their community on
the shores of Bedford Basin, where the approaches to the A. Murray
MacKay Bridge are now located.
J.E. (Gee) Ahern, the MLA for Halifax North, had called the community
meeting, said an Aug. 9, 1962, story in The Mail-Star.
Men and women rose one after the other at the meeting to speak out
against any move and "to blast the city hall officials for their
reluctance to give out building permits for the area."
"We want to be able to buy land out here (in Africville) and build on
it, according to city specifications," Africville resident Clarence
Carvery said at the meeting.
The Mail-Star story said 60 per cent of Africville residents owned
their own homes.
Ward 6 Alderman H.R. Wyman sympathized at the meeting with the people
"The city pays the market price when appropriating property," Wyman
"But this is still unfair in many cases. It is not giving a man
proper compensation if we take a home he owns and give him a house
someone else owns, even at cheap rent."
A July 1967 editorial in The Mail-Star praised the disappearance of
the community, which by then was almost complete.
"By next month, the last of some 80 families will have left the
squalid shacktown which was a national disgrace and a century-old
indictment of the failure of this city to grapple with a sociological
problem unique in Canada," the editorial says.
In 1970, at an impromptu address at the north-end library, Daisy
Carvery said she didn’t think the public was aware of how badly the
people of Africville had been treated.
"The city moved us out of Africville in their garbage trucks," she
said, according to The Mail-Star of Feb. 26, 1970.
"The city took our homes and moved us into city housing, which was
not nearly as good as our Africville homes."
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