Former residents of Africville approve compensation for razing of community

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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HALIFAX - Former residents of Africville and their descendants have approved an offer of reparations over the razing of the historic black community in Halifax four decades ago.
Irvine Carvery of the Africville Geneology Society said Sunday that the city's offer of compensation was approved by 80 per cent of those attending a public meeting Saturday.
He said he's always been optimistic that the decades-long fight for compensation would be achieved.
"I said a long time ago that right makes might," Carvery said. "Once people ... heard the story and got the actual facts, that people would see that there was a historical injustice done and they would takes those steps needed to change it and correct."
A resident of Africville until its destruction, Carvery said the plan to settle the decades-old dispute excites him as much as the birth of his first child years ago.
"I believe that we're at a point now where we can bring closure to the question of Africville. People have been festering their feelings for a long time. People can begin to heal."
Details of the compensation haven't been released pending approval by municipal council, likely during a vote Tuesday.
The Halifax Chronicle Herald reported Saturday that it consists of a $3-million payout and a hectare of municipal land.
Carvery declined comment on the report but said "there will be no individual compensation."
"The (city) made it clear from the beginning that they would not negotiate individual compensation and that if people felt they wanted individual compensation, they would have to sue."
Carvery said his group decided against suing after lawyers advised it probably would not win.
While declining to reveal specifics, he suggested the money could go to long-known plans to rebuild a church on the former Africville site and a museum and interpretive centre.
Carvery's brother, Eddie, who has been living in a tent on former Africville land for years to protest the situation, said he is upset there will be no apology, individual compensation or public inquiry.
Eddie Carvery contradicted his brother by saying Saturday's vote didn't show much support for the proposed plan.
"We all voted for individual compensation, and they said the city said no, and so they weren't pursuing it."
He and some others at the announcement said the society did not represent their opinions and he intends to continue his protest.
Africville was established by former slaves in the early 1800s on the shore overlooking Bedford Basin. It was razed in the late 1960s to make way for the approaches to a bridge across Halifax harbour.
Now a park, the former Africville land is also a national heritage site.
The federal government announced Sunday it is contributing $250,000 to support the creation of the Africville Heritage Trust, which will be used to help establish a lasting memorial to Africville.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay made the announcement Sunday in Halifax.
"While we can't ever turn back the clock, we can try to address this in a way that will allow for healing, respect and inclusion, which benefits us all as a society," he told CTV News.

Organizations: Africville Geneology Society, Halifax Chronicle Herald, Africville Heritage Trust CTV News

Geographic location: Africville, HALIFAX, Bedford Basin

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