Racism in Nova Scotia: The illusion of equality

In June 1967, Globe photographer Erik Christensen travelled coast to coast for a special centennial year examination of Canada’s capitals. In Halifax, the children of Africville pose for a picture.

I lived on Creighton Street in North End Halifax for years, and I remember being shocked that no one would deliver pizza to my home. I remember a conversation with Greco Pizza:
“Why not?” I’d asked
“Because it’s a *ahem*….BAD neighborhood.”
“Well, where DO you deliver pizza?”
“Maybe if you lived 3 blocks closer to civilization.”

We’re afraid to talk about racism in Nova Scotia. But we’re not afraid to talk about poverty and crime, which means we tiptoe around systemic injustices and rob ourselves of the chance to engage and learn from the lived experiences of our neighbors. Which also means beautiful kids who grow up in Atlantic Canada don’t feel like they can talk about how different their experiences are. The illusion of equality hurts us.

Did you know the last school that segregated African Nova Scotians closed in 1983?
Canadians often don’t talk about how racist we are towards Black People because “we’re the end of the underground railroad” and we’re “so not America.”

I’ve found Nova Scotia *shockingly* racist towards African Nova Scotians, to the point recent African immigrants are horrified how people treat them here. To the point North Preston residents *just* got their land titles for land they’ve lived on since 1775 and 1812. Let alone in schools. In law enforcement, incarceration, legislation. When magazine’s still run racist caricatures of Black educators & activists.


We’ve been mis-educated! And how can we change if we don’t know better?
How can we when Halifax’s racism is hidden in plain sight?
Know your history and change your future.

I really appreciate this piece by CANADALAND on “The Erasure of Blackness in Canadian Schools”-– check it out.