An Africville apology and an agreement to commemorate the historic community
(Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010) – Mayor Peter Kelly, on behalf of Halifax Regional Council and Halifax Regional Municipality, apologized today for the loss of the historic Halifax community of Africville in the 1960s.
The Mayor also presented the terms of an agreement reached between the municipality and the Africville Genealogy Society. The agreement, which includes $3 million toward the reconstruction of the Seaview United Baptist Church to serve as an Africville memorial, is designed to honour the past, take action in the present, and plan for community-based improvements for the future.
"We realize words cannot undo what has been done, but we are profoundly sorry and apologize to all the former residents and their descendants," Mayor Kelly said.
A predominantly African Nova Scotian community, Africville stood on the shores of the Bedford Basin for 150 years before its homes and the Seaview United Baptist Church were removed by the former City of Halifax. Approximately 400 people were relocated throughout the city at that time.
The Africville Genealogy Society, which represents former residents and their descendents, has devoted many years to seeking a fitting recognition of Africville and a way to ensure its history remains a significant part of the fabric of the municipality.
"This announcement with its heartfelt apology is welcomed by the people of Africville," said Africville Genealogy Society President Irvine Carvery. "Today as we open the door to tomorrow, we do it on the sacrifices and struggles of those who came before us. This is truly a new beginning for Africville."
In addition to the official apology delivered today, the agreement includes the following provisions for HRM:
The agreement is the result of the hard work of a tripartite committee struck in 2005 with representation from the three levels of government and the Africville Genealogy Society.
"Our history cannot be rewritten but, thankfully, the future is a blank page and, starting today, we hold the pen with which we can write a shared tomorrow," said Mayor Kelly.
For more information about the history of Africville please visit the Africville Genealogy Society website at www.africville.ca.
Mayor Peter Kelly
President, Africville Genealogy Society