Many of the earliest arrivals were Black Refugees who had escaped from slavery from the southern American colonies. The Government of Nova Scotia granted one thousand acres of land near the North-West Arm for the Refugees to use, presently known as Beechville. Original Family names include: Allen, Hamilton, Lovett, Cooper and Roberts. The Beechville Baptist Church played an important role in the development of community and in 1868; a baptism was recorded in local newspapers in which forty-seven people were baptized in Lovett Lake while over one thousand stood in attendance. The event became known as "The Great Baptism," which was later commemorated in a poem and painting. In 2014 the Beechville Baptist Church celebrated 170 years of existence.
Like many other African Nova Scotian communities their Church, The Cherry Brook United Baptist Church, is the focal point of the community that keeps residents together. Within the community is the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia, established in 1983. It was created to protect, preserve and promote the history and culture of African Nova Scotians.
Early settlers of East Preston were descended from Black Loyalists who were relocated here by the Crown following the American Revolutionary War. To a degree, the community has retained this traditional culture but with the demand for land and the growth of the city of Halifax, many people from other areas have joined the community. In its early days, East Preston was known for its farming of both produce and livestock. Many of its residents would make the long horse and-cart ride to downtown Dartmouth to sell their produce and baskets. The East Preston United Baptist Church, was founded on September 12, 1842 through the efforts of Father Richard Preston, the founding father of the African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia. While it is often thought that the community is named after Rev. Richard Preston, a famous African Nova Scotia leader and minister, the community was established long before he arrived.
In June 1786, 504 refugees settled in Hammonds Plains. There were four distinct settlements: Upper Hammonds Plains, Pockwock, Kemptown and Kehoe. The descendants of Upper Hammonds Plains hail from the War of 1812 as Freed Refugees also known as the Chesapeake Blacks. Land grants were given out to residents as far back as 1813/14 making this historic African Nova Scotian community over 203 years old. The heart of community is the Emmanuel Baptist church. Emmanuel has become a place of refuge for the residents of Upper Hammonds Plains and it is sought as “The Meeting Place” for people of various ethnic, cultural and denominational backgrounds.
Approximately 10 miles Northwest of Halifax lays a Historic African Nova Scotian Community by the name of Lucasville. Original settlers, James Lucas and Moses Oliver, established what was previously known as Lucas Settlement in 1827. A focal part and foundation of the community is the Lucasville Baptist Church established in 1839 and Wallace Lucas Community Centre (previously the Wallace Lucas School, 1958). Original settler family names include; Lucas, Oliver, and Parsons. Lucasville is still inhabited by many descendants of the original settlers.
North Preston is the oldest and largest indigenous Black community both in the province of Nova Scotia and in Canada, as well as having the highest concentration of African Canadians. Some of the first settlers in North Preston were the Black Jamaicans often referred to as the Maroons. The Black Jamaicans were deported from Jamaica after an insurrection and brought to Nova Scotia to work on the fortifications being erected around the city of Halifax. Today, North Preston is a prosperous community having a high home-ownership rate, a stable population, and the community's ability to resist urban sprawl such as that occurring in other Black Nova Scotian settlements.