'Obviously this was wrong': Uncertainty surrounds unexpected demolition of Africville church
Published Saturday, March 18, 2017 2:34PM ADT
Last Updated Sunday, March 19, 2017 2:40PM ADT
The mystery surrounding the demolition of Seaview United Baptist Church in Africville doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, despite a newly-discovered document obtained by CTV News.
The document news shows the church was demolished in 1967, almost a year before it was formally owned by the city.
That has some people wondering what other information might be hidden in the archives.
"In doing the research, the record keeping has been very, very poor for people of African descent,” said Africville Museum manager Sunday Miller.
The building was demolished in the 1960s, which was then described as urban renewal. But it's now considered by many to have been an act of racism.
One thing remains clear about the demolition: it came completely unexpected.
"They were promised that they would not take the church down until they had had their last harvest service,” said former Sunday School teacher Ardith Pye.
It's something Halifax Mayor Mike Savage says would never happen today.
“Obviously this was wrong,” Savage said. “Any of the history of Africville is important. We want to maintain that. We want to resurrect the history."
"Anything that gives credence to the history of Africville I think is useful."
That's a feeling shared by Sunday Miller, who says frustrated researchers have spent years searching for some of these recently uncovered documents.
"You have to understand that the people of Africville have been treated in a manner that causes them to be distrustful, and the things that continue on, just sort of support the fact that you can't trust people," Miller said.
And trust may be hard to rebuild as new information continues to surface decades after the community was destroyed.
“I think everything we do going forward has to be informed by things we did in the past, good and bad,” said Savage. “This is obviously something we need to learn from."
Miller is hopeful of more information coming to light.
“Because the true story might be more painful to face or deal with on both sides, when you start reflecting on why this happened."
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Priya Sam.