African Heritage Month launch in southwestern Nova Scotia

Then and now, our journey continues

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier jriley@digbycourier.ca
Published on February 1, 2013
African Heritage Month

Published on 01 February 2013

Myka Smith and Daija Miller, students at DRHS, and Darlene Lawrence, African Nova Scotian member on the Tri-County Regional School board, took part in the African Heritage Month launch in Seabrook on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

Photos by Jonathan Riley

African Heritage Month

Published on 01 February 2013

<p>Pianist and singer Gordon Best and drummer Patrick Jarvis performed original and inspirational selections at the launch of African Heritage Month for southwest Nova Scotia.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

African Heritage Month

Published on 01 February 2013

<p>Regional educator with the Black Educators Association, Brenda Clarke, Digby mayor Ben Cleveland, warden of the Municipality of Argyle Aldric d’Entremont, warden of the Municipality of the District of Digby Linda Gregory, warden of the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth, Murray Goodwin, Community&nbsp; Corporal Darrell McNeil, drummer Patrick Jarvis and African Nova Scotian member on the Tri-County Regional School board, Darlene Lawrence at the south western Nova Scotia launch of African Heritage Month.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

African Heritage Month

Published on 01 February 2013

Photos by Jonathan Riley

African Heritage Month

Published on 01 February 2013

<p>Darlene Lawrence, African Nova Scotian member on the Tri-County Regional School board, shares a laugh with the crowd.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

African Heritage Month

Published on 01 February 2013

<p>Digby mayor Ben Cleveland reads a proclamation to open African Heritage Month in southwestern Nova Scotia.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

African Heritage Month

Published on 01 February 2013

<p>Warden of the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth, Murray Goodwin, warden of the Municipality of the District of Argyle Aldric d’Entremont, Digby mayor Ben Cleveland, African Nova Scotian member on the Tri-County Regional School board, Darlene Lawrence and warden of the Municipality of the District of Digby Linda Gregory unveil the 2013 African Heritage Month poster.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

African Heritage Month

Published on 01 February 2013

<p>Brenda Clarke, Regional educator with the Black Educators Association, addresses the crowd of the launch of African Heritage Month.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

African Heritage Month

Published on 01 February 2013

<p>Patrick Jarvis gets set to perform at the opening of African Heritage Month.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

The map shows Digby, Conway, Acaciaville, Jordantown, Weymouth Falls, Danvers, Southville and Hassett.

Those and another 50 communities—historic African Nova Scotia settlements—are highlighted on the 2013 poster for African Heritage month.

Darlene Lawrence, who holds the African Nova Scotian seat on the Tri-County Regional School board, helped unveil the poster at a celebration in Seabrook on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

“Those communities show the origins of African Nova Scotians,” she says. “Most of those communities were settled by the Black Loyalists as they migrated across the province.”

She says African Heritage Month is all about culture and history.

“People need to understand and recognize their culture, and celebrate it,” she says. “The heritage month is a month to focus and learn. And a time to honour people who made great sacrifices.”

High school students Myka Smith and Daija Miller contributed readings to the launch including the complete Marianne Williamson quote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”

Patrick Jarvis of Weymouth came to the celebrations with a drum. He played several original rhythms for the crowd. Gordon Best played piano and sang.

The origins of a special celebration of African Heritage go back to 1926 in America.

Carter G. Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week to coincide with the birth dates of Black activist Frederick Douglas and President Abraham Lincoln. Wilson wanted to celebrate the history, contributions and culture of African-Americans.

In the 1976 it became National Black History Month in the U.S.

Nova Scotians have celebrated Black History Month and now African Heritage Month for 29 years.

This year the website of African Nova Scotia Affairs (www.ansa.novascotia.ca) lists 75 events across the province.

In Digby County, Brenda Clarke, regional educator with the Black Educators Association, will be visiting local schools and hosting the Southwest African Heritage Month dinner and dance gala at the Digby Royal Canadian Legion on Saturday, Feb. 23.

jriley@digbycourier.ca