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Africville Settlement: Is this Democracy or a Miscarriage of Justice? 

[Editor’s note: This opinion piece was submitted by Denise Allen, who has filed for a court injunction to stop the proposed Africville settlement. For more on the injunction, see here.]

Let us be clear, was the “Africville deal” which was orchestrated by government, and merrily agreed to by the Africville Genealogy Society, decided in the name of Africville elders? Consider the following quote by Dr. Ruth Johnson:

“To think that they (Government) hated us so much that they destroyed our community so dogs could run free. And today, if you think I should welcome and be grateful for Africville being designated a historical sight, you’re wrong.”

In protest against City Ordinance 188, which declared the former Africville lands a dog park and prohibited the Africville protest, Irene Izzard-Mantley’s responded resolutely:

“Without mercy the government bulldozed our homes in our absence without our permission, and without compassion. They left our grandmothers without shelter at a time when they were most vulnerable and alone---my grandmother was 87 years old when the city bulldozed her home and destroyed all of her belongs. She was left with just one change of clothes amidst the rubble and ruin. Before she died, she made me vow to make the guilty pay. This is the horror I carry to this day.”

These two quotes speak profoundly to the direction the Africville people should take. In my opinion, the “deal” between the Africville Genealogy Society and government does not reflect the will of these strong and outspoken Africville matriarchs. Both quotes were captured by the media---one on the podium the day that Africville was declared a historical site, the other in protest against City Ordinance 188 at Grand Parade Square.

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