Africville Heritage Trust Defends Hiring White Woman as Director

Bradley Bouzane, Canada, September 16, 2011

Some members of Nova Scotia’s black community are upset over the selection of a white person to head up the Africville Heritage Trust, but those responsible for the decision stand behind their choice.

Carole Nixon, an Anglican minister from Toronto, was selected to take charge of the group, which is tasked with operating a museum and church to commemorate the evacuation and destruction of a storied black community in Halifax in the 1960s. The church has its opening ceremonies set for Sept. 25.

Burnley Jones, a Halifax-based lawyer and human rights activist, has taken exception to the appointment and feels it is “insulting” to Nova Scotia’s African-Canadian population who were evicted from their homes in the 1960s to make room for a bridge.

“It’s ludicrous, it’s unbelievable and it’s insulting,” Jones said.

“The executive director, as the senior paid staff person, would represent the organization, the trust and the community in the interpretive centre. Clearly, this person had to be African-Canadian, African-Nova Scotian or even somebody from Africville.

“Instead, they chose a white woman from Ontario. Certainly if it were a woman’s organization dealing with feminist issues . . . you would never appoint a man to it. It would be unheard of and unthinkable. Or if it were an organization for francophones, you certainly wouldn’t put an anglophone (as executive director).”

Nixon has been in her new role for nearly three months and Daurene Lewis, chairwoman of the Africville Heritage Trust, said qualifications–and not race–were the primary reasons for her selection.

Lewis said it would be counterproductive to restrict someone from the job simply because of the colour of their skin.

“To dismiss somebody because of race is not acceptable,” Lewis said Friday. “The whole point is we’re moving on and showing some maturity in race relations, looking at an individual’s qualifications as the determining factor.

“It would be a disservice to put someone in the position if they are not qualified to do the job.”

Lewis said key among Nixon’s qualifications for the job are her sound project management skills, financial management background and impressive fundraising abilities. Her most recent posting as a minister was in Shelburne, N.S.

She said ample opportunities were afforded to countless people to seek the position, which was advertised nationally and went through a hiring committee.

But Jones argued that a change should be made and that Nixon cannot sufficiently represent the group because she has no association with the issues faced by those in the Africville area in the 60s.

“People from any group certainly have the right to have members of their group interpret and lead their struggle, and in this case it’s being denied.”

Lewis, however, said that while Nixon’s post is a high-profile position, her duties do not include key decision-making related to the interpretation of what those families endured.

Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly formally apologized for the Africville evictions in 2010. Some $3 million in compensation was offered to the local community association, and to construct a museum about the community. Lewis said a further $1 million is needed through fundraising, which is one of the main objectives of Nixon’s position.

“The executive director is not the head of the organization and they do not interpret the feelings or the story (of Africville),” Lewis said. “That’s our role as the board.

“We knew that it could possibly be a concern to people, but looking at what her qualifications and experience are, we were quite prepared to address any comments or concerns people might have.”

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  • anonymous

    In some ways this is similar to the african famine story……..

    you bring them here, they can’t handle it, and you have to take care of them, in the myriad of ways that that entails, and one of the few things they do well, is breed, if someone else is providing for their needs……….

    the west is insane……

  • Anonymous

    “Activist says only blacks can represent black interests”.

    Black activists are experts. They know what they are doing. Who better to know what is best for blacks than African Canadians themselves? Contradicting them or controverting them would be an insult. Only blacks can represent the interests of blacks. I sure wish white folks felt that same way and weren’t always ‘looking out for black interests’, too.

  • Anonymous

    We agree! Only blacks can represent black interests. Any White who lowers herself to support blacks should be fired by the blacks. Whites who try to uplift the blacks are only robbing from those Whites who could actually benefit from an uplift and aid.

    Whites’ investing themselves in blacks is a crime against the iron laws of nature. Whenever Whites help blacks, it is a theft of race currency from the White economy. Whites should commit to only helping other Whites and making us as strong a White Humanity as possible. Whites who help blacks are making our sworn enemies stronger and aiding and abetting the enemy who is destroying all we’ve built. White traitors are fighting against their own interests. We wish they would feel the shame and work for atonement, but if they don’t, and soon, we really will rejoice when the Diversity Curse reaches out to them and returns the favor.

  • Anonymous

    Who’s going to embezzle the grant money now?

  • Anonymous

    “It’s ludicrous, it’s unbelievable and it’s insulting,” Jones said.

    That’s funny, I find BRA leaving me feeling the same way.

  • neanderthalDNA

    Burnley Jones, a Halifax-based lawyer and human rights activist, has taken exception to the appointment and feels it is “insulting” to Nova Scotia’s African-Canadian population who were evicted from their homes in the 1960s to make room for a bridge.

    ——————

    My God! The horror!!!! How will those poor Canadian blacks ever recover from such an egregious example of evil whiteness?

    Tragic, tragic, history…

  • Istvan

    When your home is condemned to make way for a public project such as a bridge, road, school or jail you are compensated. Since when do you get a museum?

    Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to have built a prison on the Africville site. Then you would have a public works project and an appropriate commemoration.

  • SKIP

    ““It’s ludicrous, it’s unbelievable and it’s insulting,”

    What is actually all of the above is the conduct of blacks no matter WHERE theyare in the world. I work with a group of Kenyan citizens here in Afghanistan and good workers though they are, and they speak perfect English!!!! I know blacks will revert to type at the first opportunity…OH! BTW, they HATE SOMALIS! A lesson the U.S. has yet to learn.

  • white advocate – Canada

    These racial skirmishes are happening all over the country. Speaking as a citizen, I am not happy with the decision process or outcomes. I am not hearing honest debate and I have no way of participating. I have interests here too but I know nothing about the people involved in this matter.

    We have to make the process accountable in our democracy. There should be a federal minister of diversity who, armed with legislation, goes into these affairs and decides. The minister may have to answer in question period or to the media. Parties may contest elections over problem situations. Higher courts may override decisions. That’s how we settle things in education, defense, health, etc. We have to do the same with diversity conflicts.

  • Anonymous

    When it comes down to it, I am insulted that Nova Scotia *New Scotland)has an AFRICAN population and one of them is named Burnley JONES. Jones is a proud, old Welsh surname, not the name for an African. It’s time we took our European names back from these black usurpers. That goes for all those pretenders who also usurp French names because they think it makes them high-class. It’s stealing culture and birthright is what it is doing. Let them call themselves Obama Magambo, or Mumba Dodado Tse Tse Fly, whatever – get away from our culture.

  • Anonymous

    “Burnley Jones, a Halifax-based lawyer and human rights activist, has taken exception to the appointment and feels it is “insulting” to Nova Scotia’s African-Canadian population who were evicted from their homes in the 1960s to make room for a bridge.

    “It’s ludicrous, it’s unbelievable and it’s insulting,” Jones said.”

    I guess this outraged African Canadian doesn’t know that the NAACP was began by a white woman, and in fact white people, who funded it and guided it.

  • Uncle Bob

    So true! Only blacks know blacks, so only blacks can take care of black problems. I wish they’d get at it and show us what they can do… on their own………

  • sbuffalonative

    If it’s White, blacks claim they should have access to it because they are the minority. It it’s blacks, blacks claim they should control it because it’s historically and uniquely black and only blacks can know how to deal with blacks.

    In this way, all institutions become black. If they’re black, they stay black. If they’re White, they’re forced to become black.

  • Anonymous

    Blacks in Nova Scotia too? How sad.

  • Anonymous

    This is what passes for “racism” against blacks in Canada, a community that barely even existed here historically. Africville was a little slum with about 300 residents. It was evacuated to make room for a bridge. Blacks go on and on about this like it was the Holocaust or the Holodomor.

  • Anonymous

    The black population in N.S. was once very small, and their main income was working as porters on the rail line which terminated at Halifax.

    Once ‘social justice’ came to town in the 1970’s, they augmented their numbers with Caribbean immigrants and infamously started the street gang known as ‘North Preston’s Finest’, pimping naive white girls in the strip parlours of Toronto and Montreal.

  • Canuck

    Here are the official racial demographic figures (2006) for the province of Nova Scotia and the city of Halifax.

    The 2% Black population (not “African-Canadians”) in Nova Scotia are descendants of escaped slaves from the U.S., and others are recent Caribbean immigrants.

    The above government link can used for any Canadian community by simply selecting another region.