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Formal Deed Transfer Part of HRM Apology to the Former Africville Residents

From HRM:

(January 14, 2011)  A formal deed transfer today of 2.5 acres of land
at Seaview Park to the new Africville Heritage Trust Board marks another
step forward in realizing the commitments made to the former Africville
residents.

HRM Mayor Peter Kelly said he is pleased that all of the commitments
made on behalf of Council and residents less than a year ago are either
fulfilled or nearing completion.

“This is further evidence of our solemn commitment to the people of
Africville and their descendants,” he said. “As I previously stated,
history cannot be rewritten; however, I hope those who have been wronged
will view today’s deed transfer as an opportunity, together, to hold
the same pen and write a shared tomorrow.”

The deed transfer, along with the $3 million contribution announced in
November, is for the reconstruction and operation of the Seaview United
Baptist Church to serve as a memorial to Africville. The $3 million in
funding includes $2.5 million for construction and $500,000 directed
towards the installation of services to the new building.

Daurene Lewis, Chair of the Africville Heritage Trust (AHT) Board,
said, "This is an important part of the settlement with the people of
Africville, and allows the Africville Heritage Trust to proceed
confidently with our planning for the construction of the Church."

The AHT Board will be providing an update to the Community on plans for
the construction of the replica Church at the Africville site during an
open house at the North End Memorial Library Saturday, January 15 from 1
pm to 3 pm.

Africville was situated on the shores of the Bedford Basin for 150
years before its homes and the Seaview United Baptist Church were
removed by the former City of Halifax and its approximately 400
residents were relocated away from their beloved community.  Members of
the Africville Genealogy Society worked tirelessly for recognition and a
fitting tribute to the community’s vital history.

Irvine Carvery, President of the Africville Genealogy Society, said,
“The return of this land back to the people of Africville repairs a
tear in the fabric of our souls.  As my good friend Terry Dixon noted,
‘We may own our homes in other communities, but something is
missing.’  That something has been returned to us.”

The official apology delivered on February 24, 2010 by the Mayor, on
behalf of Council, included the following:

● 2.5 acres of land at Seaview Park to an Africville Heritage Trust
Board that is to be established in short order;
● a park maintenance agreement between Africville Heritage Trust and
HRM for the lands known as Seaview Park; and
● an African Nova Scotian Affairs function within HRM, which is to be
included in business plans for the upcoming 2010/11 fiscal year.

The Mayor noted that HRM is very close to establishing an HRM African
Nova Scotian Affairs presence/office in conjunction with the 2010-11
Budget discussions.

“This will bring a concerted focus on the needs and concerns of
African Nova Scotians within our region,” he said.

For more information about the history of Africville, visit the
Africville Genealogy Society website:  www.africville.ca .

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