Sometimes history can come across as something that happened so long ago that it doesn't seem to touch our lives today. The old "Past is Prologue" just seems like a distant memory. It is so important to bring the past into our present so we can see the mistakes and experience for ourselves what was lost and what was taken.
Here we have just that kind of wisdom. So turn the page and walk along with this young girl who is visiting the world of her great-grandmother and replaying in her mind all the stories she has heard her family tell. This is history at the most personal level ...where it matters the most.
How long ago were Black communities subject to another set of rules? In Halifax, Nova Scotia, the answer is as recent as the 1960s. Okay, so let's rewind the clock a little bit here. Let's go back to the 1700s when Black Loyalists (the ones who didn't support the Revolution) fled the colonies and arrived in Canada. There in Halifax, Nova Scotia, they founded a community called Africville. It was a place where they could create their own community. In 1812 Black Refugees from the War of 1812 headed to Africville, too.
What happened to Africville?
This is the story of a young girl who goes back to visit Africville. All her life she has heard the stories of her family and the Africville community. Now is her chance to see where the rainbow-colored houses stood and the berry patches were "thick and tasty." We're talking about roots. We're talking about a way of life. We're talking about the lives of people who wove themselves together to create a community.
Where is Africvile today? This plaintive song of sorrow and prejudice brings the history and herstory of Africville straight into our now. Imagine having your home destroyed. Imagine being erased.
In the mind and heart of this young girl Africville comes to life again. We experience the goodness, the connections, the sense of neighbors coming together. It's a beautiful story that celebrates heritage and those who have come before us. It's a story that reminds us of how the places of our great grandparents and our grandparents can both shape us and offer up the strength and tenacity that saw them through difficult times.
An important read.
Keywords: Canadian history; prejudice; community; refugees; racism; history; multigenerational; Canada; diversity; diverse books, 7 year olds, 8 year olds, 9 year olds, 10 year olds