i was recently asked to give a lecture at the maritime museum of the atlantic about the hermit of africville and black snow. i knew instantly what i wanted to do - to expand on the article i wrote for the herald in 2009 called the africville explosion.
the talk will start at 730pm on tuesday, feb 8. fingers crossed for a good turnout!
The Africville Explosion: how the 1917 disaster resurrected North End Halifax and destroyed AfricvilleTuesday, February 8th at 7:30 pm
On Dec. 6, 1917, Mont Blanc collided with Imo as a convoy prepared to leave Halifax for the European battlefields of World War One. Mont Blanc blew up and levelled the North End, leaving thousands dead. Shock waves swept over the hills and smashed windows and tore off roofs in Africville, killing at least two people. The terrible blast destroyed the North End while mostly sparing Africville, yet 50 years later the revitalized North End was thriving as the city reduced Africville to ruins.
Journalist and author Jon Tattrie immersed himself in the Halifax Explosion while writing his best-selling novel Black Snow. A year later, he became similarly absorbed in Africville as he spent more than 40 hours interviewing Eddie Carvery about his 40-year protest on the site for his best-selling biography, The Hermit of Africville.
Pouring over the archives of two of Halifax’s darkest hours sheds light on the decision to rebuild one community out of its ruins while another was left to the bulldozers. This tale of two cities raises disturbing questions about the role of racism in Halifax.
The talk is free of charge but donations to Feed Nova Scotia are always welcome.