Canada Post has issued a new stamp commemorating the community of Africville and representing the fight against racism.

The church and houses of Africville were demolished in Halifax more than 40 years ago, but the community’s spirit still lives on in its former residents.

“Africville holds amazing historical significance. It’s one of the oldest black communities in Nova Scotia,” says Lori Lancaster, a spokesperson for Canada Post.

“It went through a period of massive destruction and dismantlement in the 60s and I think was really a true symbol for the fight against racism.”

The new stamp combines an old photograph of seven little girls from Africville with a painting of the community.

“The gorgeous faces of these little girls, which undeniably, they’re  quite sweet, we felt represented youth and innocence, yet the true spirit of Africville,’ says April Howe, chair of the Africville Heritage Trusts.

“It really symbolized what we would like to put out there in terms of Africville.”

Bernice Byers-Arsenault is one of the seven girls on the stamp. She says she is honoured to be a part of such a special project and treasures the stamp.

“I was thrilled. Words can’t describe how I felt when I opened it. It’s an honour. We’re so important in that picture. We made history,” says Byers-Arsenault.

“We’re a community that’s lost, gone. We were a group of girls coming from a Sunday school class and someone took our picture and lo and behold, here we are on a stamp all over Canada.”

Memories of Africville live on in a museum, built in the replica of the original church and near the original site. The Seaview African United Baptist Church was founded about 20 years before Confederation – decades after the community itself was established on the shores of the Bedford Basin.

“In 1967, when they tore down the church, people were still living in Africville,” says Irvine Carvery, president of the Africville Genealogy Society.

“My grandmother was still here in Africville, Ma Carvery was still here, there were a number of families still here.”

Carvery, Byers-Arsenault and Howe hope the stamp will prompt people to want to learn more about Africville.

“It’s an opportunity for a statement to be made,” says Howe.

“Yes, there was tragedy. There were some wrongdoings. However, in the spirit of forgiveness, in the spirit of moving forward, that’s what we want to see happen.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Rick Grant