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Africville Memorial Project
Significant Dates*

1848
Although oral history suggests some families could trace their roots to the 1700s, the African-Nova Scotian community started with the purchase of land by William Arnold and William Brown.

1849
A church is organized at Africville and the first baptism takes place in Bedford Basin.

1854
Construction begins on the Intercolonial Railway; land on Campbell Road's south side is expropriated for it and a few houses are removed.

1860
Africville petitions the government for financial aid to support a qualified teacher. Earliest documentary evidence of “Africville” is found in a petition from William Brown.

1874
The Infectious Diseases Hospital is built on the hill overlooking the community.

1883
A school is established under the jurisdiction of the City government.

1915
Halifax City Council identifies the Africville portion of Campbell Road as an industrial district.

1916
Africville's congregation receives permission to build a new church on City-owned property in the Africville area to replace the “little brown church,” which was a casualty of the First World War.

1940
Railroad expansion results in the expropriation of Carvery property.

1945
The Civic Planning Commission recommends development of the Northern Slope of the city as a residential, park and shopping centre complex, and removal of the residents of Africville.

1947
Halifax City Council approves the designation of Africville as industrial land.

1948
City Council approves the borrowing of funds to provide water and sewer services, but these are never installed. Residents rely on local springs that become contaminated by the railway and surrounding industrial waste.

1953
The Africville school is closed by the City and the children are transferred to larger, racially integrated schools.

Mid 1950s
The city dump is relocated to land near Africville.

1956
Professor Gordon Stephenson is commissioned to study housing conditions in Halifax and to suggest suitable areas for rehousing.

1957
City Council adopts a motion to expropriate all the land for the Industrial Mile, with the exception of the property belonging to Canadian National Railway. This then becomes part of the North Shore Development Plan, which calls for an expressway running through Africville, with preliminary plans for removal of Africville in place for 1962.

1962
The Halifax City Planning Board approves engineering and cost studies for development of the north shore of the Bedford Basin.


Despite community opposition, Halifax City Council adopts recommendations to remove the “blighted housing and dilapidated structures in the Africville area.”

1963
The final baptism takes place in the Bedford Basin at Africville.

1964
The Mail Star reports the first property purchase of the Africville acquisition program. Halifax City Council votes unanimously to accept the recommendations for the relocation of all Africville residents.

1965
The Mail Star quotes the Welfare Director as saying, “the City has fallen down on its responsibility to Africville. Providing proper water and sewerage facilities for these people, when needed, would have enabled them to give as good an account of themselves as any other families in the area and would make relocation unnecessary.”

1967
Settlement negotiations conclude.

1968
The Seaview Credit Union is established to provide short-term assistance to those in pressing need.

1969
The last remaining resident of Africville – Aaron "Pa" Carvery – relinquishes hold on his property on December 30, 1969. Pa moves out on January 2, 1970.

Post-relocation

1983
Deborah Dixon-Jones, Linda Mantley and Brenda Steed-Ross established the Africville Genealogy Society to remember the community of Africville. First Africville reunion picnic attracts former residents and descendants.

1992
“Africville: A Spirit that Lives On” national touring exhibition organized by AGS with Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, National Film Board – Atlantic Centre, and the Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia, along with accompanying video documentary and a book.

1996
Africville designated national historic site.

2005
Africville community approved AGS strategic plan that established objectives of the construction of a replica Seaview United Baptist Church and creation of an interpretive centre.

2006
Completion of a detailed feasibility study and business plan for the Seaview Church replica and Africville Interpretive Centre.

2008
Twenty-fifth reunion attended by over 1,500 people from all parts of Canada, the US and beyond. Paramount Chief from Ghana addresses Gala gathering. The Freedom Schooner Amistad visits and Joe Sealy (an Africville descendant) performs his Africville Suite at Neptune Theatre.

2009
Renaming of Service Road to Africville Road.

2010
Negotiated settlement with HRM including: transfer of land for the church replica and interpretive centre; financial support for capital construction and endowment; employment contract for maintenance of Seaview Park; renaming of Seaview Park to Africville; establishment of African Nova Scotian Affairs function within municipal government; and a formal acknowledgement of loss and apology.

HRM transferred $2.5 million to the new African Heritage Trust towards the rebuilding of the Seaview Church on November 26.

2011
Formal deed transfer on January 14 of 2.5 acres of land at Seaview Park to the Africville Heritage Trust Board.

 

*Excerpted in part from detailed timeline to Relocation at Africville Genealogy Website: Africville.ca Based on information from Halifax City Council; Halifax Board of School Commissioners; Public Archives of Nova Scotia, Halifax Mail Star; and Registry of Deeds, County of Halifax.