For over a hundred years, the African Nova Scotian community resided in Africville. Located on the northern shore of Halifax Harbour, the community was destroyed in the 1960s to make way for industrial development. Forcibly relocated, the former residents of Africville and their descendants were scattered. This is an example of the “urban renewal” trend that destroyed similar neighbourhoods across Canada.
In 2010, the people of Africville finally received an apology for the loss of their community from the city of Halifax. A settlement was reached which established the Africville Heritage Trust and Africville Memorial Project, an initiative that extends to the Museum, the Interpretive Center, and various events. The Trust is managed by a volunteer board that is primarily made up of members of the Africville community.
The broad goals of the project are:
- A place for the community where former residents can reconnect and descendants, especially youth, can connect, learn about their history and rebuild a sense of place and pride as they rekindle the spirit of Africville.
- A visitor attraction that draws other residents of Nova Scotia and tourists to the site so that they can learn the story of Africville, adding to the critical mass of African Nova-Scotian themed attractions in Nova Scotia, strengthening the province as a Black heritage destination, and encouraging visitors interested in Black heritage to stay longer, benefiting both other Black heritage sites and the province as a whole.
- A venue for telling the true story of Africville and its contribution to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and the African Diaspora.
- A community forum that looks not only to the past, but functions as a center for the discussion of present and future opportunities and challenges, and spotlights the issues of dislocated communities that occur in the world today.