By Jon Rumley, Walmart Canada Corporate Affairs
For around 150 years, there was a vibrant Black community in Halifax known as Africville. At one time, it was a “thriving, close-knit community,” home to stores, a school, a post office and a church, along with around 400 Black Canadians who came to Nova Scotia for a better life.
In Africville, residents paid taxes, but lacked many amenities such as paved roads, access to clean water, sewage systems and adequate garbage disposal, which was available to other Haligonians. Instead, the city built an infectious diseases hospital, a prison and a dump near Africville.
Beginning in the 1960s, the community was destroyed when the City of Halifax relocated residents for the sake of “urban renewal,” despite local opposition.
“The racism was real,” said Justine Speedie, Manager, Site Merchandising at Walmart Canada. Justine’s father, Joseph Skinner, was born and raised in Africville. “People didn’t want to leave their community.”
It’s a painful story, but one worth sharing in order to learn and heal. That’s why Walmart Canada’s Culture, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team is educating associates on topics like Africville. This year, the annual Africville reunion is set to take place from July 29 to 31.