'Rally for reparations' held by descendants of Africville residents, 50 years after demolition

Descendants of a Black Nova Scotia community demolished more than 50 years ago gathered Saturday to demand reparations.

“I’m here still, waiting to be compensated,” says John Carvery, who was just 11-years-old when his family was forced out of Africville in the late 1960s. “Thank God, I’m still here, but I’m going to die myself, wondering when are we going to be compensated?”

Africville was once a close-knit community in Halifax’s North End, with a predominant Black population dating back to 1848. After years of discrimination and inadequate municipal services, Halifax city council made the decision to destroy Africville in 1964.

Official apologies and commemorations have since been offered but the fight for compensation is still unresolved.

“We’ve been in court for approximately eight years, and right now we’re trying to be certified as a class action,” says Denise Allen, an organizer of Saturday’s event.  “We’re waiting on a response to that application.”

The group ‘Justice for Africville: Reparations Now’ was represented by approximately 50 marchers and 40 vehicles in Saturday’s peaceful rally.

“Use your conscience and realize if we’re all going to get on the same page, then we better pay attention to what happened in Africville, and use that as an example that it will never happen, and put it back, put our community back,” says Africville descendent Eddie Carvery.

There is, however, an understanding among march attendees of what compensation can and can’t do.

“I mean, it’s never going to heal the emotional and psychological scars that we suffer,” says Allen.