"When people are looking at the money and kind of having a conversation ... they can start to look more deeply into north-end Halifax and learn more about the community." The north end was home to Africville, which was founded in the 1800s with many residents former slaves and black Loyalists....
“When people are looking at the money and kind of having a conversation … they can start to look more deeply into north-end Halifax and learn more about the community.”
The north end was home to Africville, which was founded in the 1800s with many residents former slaves and black Loyalists. But residents were forced to relocate when the community was ordered razed by Halifax council in the late 1960s, and many moved into public housing elsewhere in the north end.
Historically, the north end has been populated by black-owned businesses, Carvery said, but many of them shut down in the wake of the civil rights movement that Desmond helped spur as an unintended consequence of desegregation.
“I would hope that (the bill) is going to inspire … young black entrepreneurs to take a look at that whole history of black business ownership and inspire them,” said Carvery, 65, a former chair of Halifax’s school board.
He said the black community’s entrepreneurial history has particular resonance as the north end reckons with the forces of gentrification, which have transformed the neighbourhood in recent years with an influx of new business owners.
The commercial shift has led some to call on new stores to hire longtime north-end residents, but Carvery said he hopes African-Nova Scotians will take after Desmond and start their own businesses so they can employ other members of the community.
“I think (Desmond’s story) hearkens back to a Gottingen Street that we’d all like to see again,” said Patty Cuttell-Busby, executive director of the North End Business Association. “One where there is lots of diversity in the businesses that are owned in the area.”
Cuttell-Busby said she hopes Desmond’s role as a national ambassador for the north end will be a boon to businesses in the area, while also inspiring the next generation of black owners.
But in addition to the bill’s empowering message, Carvery — who was among those forced to relocate from Africville — said he sees the monetary spotlight on the north end as a rebuke to a city that has long neglected the district, and at times, mistreated its black residents.
The city offered a formal apology for Africville in 2010 as part of a multi-million-dollar settlement with former residents, but Carvery said the forced displacement still casts a long shadow over the black community’s relationship with municipal government.
“For the north end to end up on the $10 bill is kind of like, ‘In your face,’ ” he said.
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
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