Staff from the Chamber recently had the opportunity to visit the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia, located in Cherry Brook. The Centre has recently undergone a significant renovation and they encourage all Nova Scotians to come visit the new exhibits and learn about a significant part of our history.
Chamber President & CEO Valerie Payn has been invited to speak at the 30th Anniversary Fundraising Dinner happening this week – the first white female to be asked to do so – and the Chamber is honoured to have her speaking at this event.
We began with a brief talk from Russell Grosse, Assistant Executive Director, and Pastor Brian Johnston, President, who filled us in on a little bit of the history of the Centre and its mission. Reverend Dr. William Pearly Oliver made a proposal in the 1970s for the creation of a cultural educational centre. The Centre officially opened on September 17, 1983 and is now celebrating its 30th anniversary. We also watched a video production highlighting the place of Black Nova Scotians in our province’s history; there have been Black Nova Scotians as far back as the 1600s!
We were then given a tour of the facilities. The centerpiece of the Centre is the Banner Hall, a soaring open space with a map of Nova Scotia on the floor. Showing where there are black communities, and a map of Africa overhead. Around the edges are hung colourful banners depicting prominent Black Nova Scotians – some well known, like Portia White and Viola Davis, and some less so. The banners also contain facts and tidbits of black history, such as the “7 Nguzo Saba Principles”, and historical photos. The banners also roll up out of the way if the extra space is needed for larger events.
Two side rooms on the main level contain more artifacts and photos, as well as video exhibits. Between these two rooms is a seating area, with a mural on the wall depicting important dates in Black Nova Scotian history as well as the names of black communities throughout the province.
Upstairs are more exhibits, including a doorway from a house in Africville which allows you or physically “step into the past” as you walk through it, and a library of resources available to the community. From upstairs you can also see down into the Banner Hall and read the information on the banners from closer-up.
Downstairs houses a classroom, which has technology to allow participants both in person and via video conference from anywhere in the world. There is also a computer lab, accessible by the community.
Black history is an important part of the history of Nova Scotia and I’d certainly encourage anyone who has never visited the Centre to take some time to visit and learn. More information can be found on the Centre’s website, www.bccns.com, or by following them on Twitter or Facebook.
Jennifer Pierce is the Member Services Specialist at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. If you would like to request a member visit please contact Jennifer. She can be reached at (902) 481-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.