Halifax mayor offers historic apology to residents and descendants of Africville

Halifax mayor offers historic apology to residents and descendants of Africville


By The Canadian Press

HALIFAX, N.S. - The mayor of Halifax asked for forgiveness Wednesday as he apologized to the residents and descendants of Africville, a black community that was razed four decades ago.

Peter Kelly said he recognized that words could not express the depth of loss experienced since the destruction of Africville, recognized as a shameful chapter in the city’s history.

“We realize words cannot undo what has been done. But we are profoundly sorry and apologize to each and everyone of you,” Kelly told a news conference.

“The repercussions of what happened to Africville linger to this day. They haunt us in the form of lost opportunities for the young people who never were nurtured in the rich traditions, culture and heritage of Africville.”

The city council has approved $3 million to be spent on the reconstruction of a church to serve as a memorial in an effort to compensate former residents and descendants of Africville.

Situated in Halifax’s north end, Africville was established by former slaves in the early 1800s on the shore overlooking Bedford Basin. It was torn down in the 1960s to make way for the approaches to a bridge across Halifax harbour as part of an urban renewal initiative.

“You lost your homes, your church, all the places in which you gathered with your family and friends to share and mark the milestones of your lives,” Kelly said. “For all of that, we apologize.”

The former Africville land is now a park and a national heritage site.

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Press

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