CBCnews

Halifax council ratifies Africville apology

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | 8:18 PM AT

Halifax regional council has ratified a deal that will see former residents of Africville and their descendants receive an official apology — four decades after the City of Halifax razed the black community to make room for a bridge.

Africville sat for more than a century on the northern part of the Halifax peninsula, before being levelled in the name of urban renewal.Africville sat for more than a century on the northern part of the Halifax peninsula, before being levelled in the name of urban renewal. (CBC Archives)

Mayor Peter Kelly said he will apologize on behalf of the Halifax Regional Municipality and council at an event on Wednesday.

He'll also reveal details of a settlement with the Africville Genealogy Society to "commemorate the past and take positive steps for the future."

Council voted in favour of the agreement at its weekly meeting Tuesday evening.

Africville sat on the northern part of the Halifax peninsula, along the shores of the Bedford Basin, for more than a century. It was neglected by the city, then bulldozed in the 1960s.

Forty years later, there's a compensation package designed to resolve the long-running dispute with evicted residents and their descendants.

'We've moving forward'

"There's a light at the end of the tunnel," said Brenda Steed-Ross, who was kicked out of Africville with her parents and infant daughter when she was 18. "We're moving forward, not backward. That's the way I feel."

The society accepted the offer from the municipality on Saturday. Steed-Ross, one of the founding members of the society, wouldn't reveal the details of the offer. According to one published report, it includes a $3-million payout and about one hectare of municipal land. There is no money for individuals or families.

On Sunday, the federal government announced $250,000 for the Africville Heritage Trust, which will help design a museum and a replica of the community's church.

Steed-Ross remembers her old community fondly, but believes it's time to look forward.

'Try to make it better'

"It's good memories that are gone," she said. "We think about it and, yes, it'll always be a loss there and we'll feel that loss, and mainly because our children will never experience that. But you can't dwell on it. You have to try to make it better now for the future."

Africville's roots went back to the 1830s, when former American slaves and other black people settled in the area. Homeowners paid city taxes, but they didn't get running water or sewage facilities. The community became run-down over the decades, and the city finally bulldozed it in the name of urban renewal.

Part of the old Africville site, declared a national historic site in 2002, is now an off-leash dog park. The rest of the land was used to build the approaches to the A. Murray MacKay Bridge.

  •  
 

Video

    Related

    Nova Scotia Headlines

    Halifax apologizes for razing Africville Video
    The former residents of a bulldozed black community and their descendants have received an official apology from the mayor of Halifax.
    N.S. men charged in cross burning Video
    Nova Scotia RCMP have charged two brothers from Hants County with setting a cross ablaze outside the home of their white relative and her black fiancé.
    Concordia captain to be interviewed
    The agency investigating the sinking of a Canadian tall ship will zero in on any safety deficiencies on board and whether the Brazilian navy was right to wait roughly 20 hours before sending out an aircraft to search for the vessel.
    No run for Tory leadership: Casey
    Karen Casey says she won't seek to stay on as leader of Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservatives.
    Halifax facing $30M shortfall
    Halifax finance officials are proposing program cuts, fee hikes and a tax rate increase to deal with a projected $30-million budget shortfall.

    Canada Headlines

    Man detained in Montreal flight security breach Video
    Montreal authorities questioned a man pulled from a WestJet flight bound for Toronto after he started behaving suspiciously moments before takeoff.
    Halifax apologizes for razing Africville Video
    The former residents of a bulldozed black community and their descendants have received an official apology from the mayor of Halifax.
    Internet pharmacy pioneer loses licence
    The Manitoba man who launched the internet pharmacy industry in North America is no longer able to work as a pharmacist in his home province.
    Doctor stops surgery after mastectomy errors VideoAudio
    A Windsor, Ont., hospital says a surgeon who "tragically harmed" a woman by removing her breast when the patient didn't have cancer has stopped performing surgeries.
    Kidnap victim's father lauds end of 2-for-1 sentencing
    A wealthy Vancouver businessman whose son was held hostage for eight days says he's delighted to hear convicted criminals will no longer get two-for-one credit for time served before their sentencing.

    People who read this also read …

    Top CBCNews.ca Headlines

    Headlines

    Doctor stops surgery after mastectomy errors VideoAudio
    A Windsor, Ont., hospital says a surgeon who "tragically harmed" a woman by removing her breast when the patient didn't have cancer has stopped performing surgeries.
    Toyoda 'deeply sorry' for Toyota woes Video
    Akio Toyoda, the scion of the Toyota empire, apologized Wednesday before a U.S. House committee investigating deadly flaws that sparked the recall of 8.5 million cars.
    Man detained in Montreal flight security breach Video
    Montreal authorities questioned a man pulled from a WestJet flight bound for Toronto after he started behaving suspiciously moments before takeoff.
    Crosby, Ovechkin renew Canada-Russia rivalry
    One of the most hotly anticipated hockey games — and individual matchups — in recent memory will take place Wednesday night in Vancouver as Canada and Russia renew their storied rivalry in the Olympic quarter-finals.
    Bernanke reasserts need to keep rates low Video
    Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke said record low interest rates are still needed to foster U.S. economic growth as the country recovers from its worst battering since the Great Depression.