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Canada Africville church bell returning after 53 years

01:45  18 february  2020
01:45  18 february  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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Africville was a small community of predominately Black Canadians located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. greater economic return : business and industry. Notable other racialized neighbourhoods razed Many years earlier, and again in 1947 after a major fire burnt several Africville houses

A bell is hanging high up in a belfry in Africville , Nova Scotia, baffling community members who say it mysteriously appeared one night at the site of a church that's being rebuilt to commemorate the black community that once flourished there. "It's no easy feat because there are no stairs inside, so how

a sign in front of a building: A coming soon sign is now in place to show people where the bell will be installed outside the Africville Museum. The bell will be kept outside the replica church in its own structure. © Carolyn Ray/CBC A coming soon sign is now in place to show people where the bell will be installed outside the Africville Museum. The bell will be kept outside the replica church in its own structure.

For the families of Africville, the church bell represented its heartbeat.

The community that once lined the Halifax waterfront depended on its chime to let them know what was happening.

"The bell has a sound, depending on why it's being rung," remembered Irvine Carvery, who lived in Africville. "To a funeral, it's a toll, but when you're being called to service, it's uplifting."

On Monday, as families gathered to honour Africville as part of Heritage Day celebrations, they were thrilled to learn the bell was returning.

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Africville Church (est. 1849) – rebuilt as part of the Africville Apology. Many years earlier, and again in 1947, after a major fire burnt several Africville houses, the topic of relocation of Africville was discussed. Efforts to address the plight of the Africville relocation happened over twenty-five years .

Even after 30 years of gathering in this place, there’s still hurt.” But Carvery says the past should not Her father used to live in Africville and she attends the celebrations every year . “I think they’ re just trying A settlement was reached that included 2.5 acres of land to rebuild the church and million

It will find a new home outside the replica of the community's church, which houses the Africville Museum.

"When we dedicated this building, we dedicated it to the spirit of our elders who have gone on," said Carvery.

"That place houses the souls and spirit of our ancestors. That was their bell. So now, it's a connecting of all these wonderful things together in this place."

a man standing next to a body of water: Irvine Carvery and Linda Mantley say the church bell was the defining sound of their childhood in Africville. © Brian MacKay/CBC Irvine Carvery and Linda Mantley say the church bell was the defining sound of their childhood in Africville.

In the 1960s, Halifax expropriated the land and tore down the African Nova Scotian community, saying it was a slum.

The church was demolished in 1967 in the middle of the night. But the bell was saved, and for 53 years it has been housed at Beechville Baptist Church.

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The bell was discovered by another trust member and former resident of the historic community named Africville . The original church featured a bell but it’s on permanent loan; Lewis is unsure if the group can get it back. Members discussed installing a bell , but now that they have one, a decision will be

Poplar Run Baptist Church has been in the same spot off Bennetts Pasture Road in Suffolk for 124 years .

Linda Mantley became emotional when she learned it was coming home.

"I thought about all the elders that's gone, and we only have nine families left of the original people," she said tearfully. "I'm pleased that the bell is going to be returned."

As part of the announcement, organizers rang the current bell in the replica church for the last time. It will now be moved to the Beechville Baptist Church as a trade.

Juanita Peters, executive director of the Africville Museum, said it's essential that the piece of history is returned.

Families want to move back to Africville

"I'm emotional just thinking about it. I've never seen the bell before in my life, but just what it signifies," she said.

"No matter what was intended for this community, some how the good things keep coming back."

Carvery also renewed calls Monday for families to be allowed to move back to the land.

"The thing about it, is we, the people of Africville, have been going through these mixed emotions ever since the destruction of our community," said Carvery.

"In these days of reconciliation, what better sign of reconciliation would there be than to give people back their land and allow them the economic opportunity for development of their land?"

The bell will be returned in the coming months. A ceremony will be held to celebrate its arrival.

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