Africville: The Test of Urban Renewal in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Richard Bobier

Abstract


Donald Clairmont's Africville Relocation Report portrays the Africville relocation as a grave injustice inflicted upon a voiceless minority by an insensitive city administration. Initially, however, the relocation enjoyed the support of Black leaders, community residents, and city administrators. This paper argues that two major factors caused the transformation of the Africville relocation from a symbol of civic and humanitarian progress to a symbol of human and perhaps racial injustice. First, the relocation process took fifteen years to complete. During that time the initial confidence exuded by Haligonians because of the postwar boom had begun to dissipate, and with it, their devotion to urban renewal schemes. Second, criticism of the project reflected changing expectations and developing sociological methodologies concerning the alleviation of poverty.

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