Thank you for joining me. This month, we are exploring two communities that no longer exist. Two communities that were destroyed in the name of urban renewal. Two communities whose people were displaced due to anti-Black racism: Africville, north of Halifax, Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada, and Hogan’s Alley in Vancouver, British Columbia on the west coast.
Racism is woven throughout the history and geography of this country I call home. There is a tendency among Canadians to view ourselves as less racist than a certain neighbour to the south. To cast ourselves as a kinder, gentler nation. Africville and Hogan’s Alley tell a different story.
The resources gathered here will take us on a journey. Together, we’ll sift through some of the research, let music and literature shift our perspectives, and lift up some of the organizations dedicated to righting the historical wrongs enacted against the people of Africville and Hogan’s Alley.
Ready? Let’s go.
Only have two minutes? Watch Africville: The Black community bulldozed by the City of Halifax.
If you have more time, the online CBC Archives feature dozens of radio and TV broadcasts documenting the decision the raze Africville and its devastating impact on the people who called the community home. Not sure where to begin? Start with these three:
Have 16 minutes? Watch Secret Vancouver: Return to Hogan’s Alley
Want to dive deeper? Read Stephanie Allen’s academic thesis (2019):
Or, follow along as writer and historian Wayde Compton presents a slideshow on the history of urban renewal and Hogan’s Alley.
Music and Spoken Word Poetry
In 1997, 8th-generation Canadian Joe Sealy won the Juno Award for best contemporary jazz album. Africville Stories, the much-lauded album, paid tribute to the residents of the community Sealy’s family had called home.
More recently, in 2007, Black Union (featuring Maestro) released their song Africville, bringing the story to the attention of a new generation.
Check out this spoken word poem about Jimi Hendrix’s Hogan’s Alley connections by Kevan Cameron (and watch the other nine videos produced by Black Strathcona).
Colvin, Jeffrey. Africville. New York: Random House, 2019.
Listen to an interview with Colvin on The Next Chapter.
Compton, Wade. Performance Bond. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004.
Read about Compton and his relationship to Hogan’s Alley.
Forthcoming: Award-winning writer and editor Chelene Knight is writing a novel set in Hogan’s Alley called Junie. Watch for the publication date.
Canada Post commemorated Africville and Hogan’s Alley in stamps released in 2014.
Sign a petition demanding reparations for Africville.
Support former residents of Africville (and their descendants) through GoFundMe.
Donate to the Hogan’s Alley Society.
Sign a petition calling on the City of Vancouver to develop a non-profit community land trust on the grounds of Hogan’s Alley.
Don’t let history repeat itself. Visit the website of the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group to learn about the Save Lincolnville, a Black community in northeast Nova Scotia, on Megumaagee territory.
Support Black-owned businesses wherever you live.