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Slavery was a big issue in the beginning of the 20th century. A lot of African Americans in the United States were viewed as a possession by white Americans and would do grueling jobs to earn a right to live. Growing up as a Christian, I hold on to the belief that every man is created equal no matter their race, age or gender. Blacks were viewed as less humans by white Americans, who were deemed superior. The destruction of Africville by the Nova Scotian government in 1969 was a prime example of how black Canadians were mistreated as a group. This will be demonstrated by the demolishment of their town especially the Seaview Baptist church and the gruesome conditions the blacks had to live in. The fact that no compensation or even a simple apology was offered until 40 years later outrages me. The residents of Africville took pride in living in their small town.
According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, the blacks considered Africville as their hideaway from the racial setbacks they went through in their day to day life. A church was built in the centre of the town as a gathering ground for the locals; It served as a place of worship for the believers and as a communal home for all the residents of Africville. In 1969, a railway extension was built in the middle of their town which led to the demolishment of some parts of their town, including the church. Their land was forcefully taken away from them and no compensation was offered to the land owners. An open-pit dump was also built metres away from their town, which posed a health risk to them. During the slavery era in the United States, black people faced a lot of tribulations. Their lives belonged to their ‘masters’ and many of them were killed during that period. Many of them moved to Canada in search for freedom but also faced racism when they arrived. They were forced to set up their homes in an unhospitable land away from the whites, but they managed to persevere and ended up creating Africville, a town where they were happy and comfortable. Although the residents of Africville paid their taxes, basic necessities like water and sewage were not provided by the government, instead a prison, a dump site and infectious disease hospital were built. When the railway was built, all the residents were forcefully evacuated from their homes which brought an end to the peaceful life they had created for themselves.
The fact that they had to go through all this annoys me. No human deserves to go through what the blacks underwent. The discrimination they experienced was solely because of the colour of their skin and anyone who wasn’t Caucasian was looked down upon. Looking back at all the tribulations that African Canadians went through in the past, I cannot help but be grateful for the life I have now. As a black person living in the 21st century, I can say a lot has changed. Slavery does not exist anymore, and everyone, no matter their race, is viewed as an equal to the other. Although some parts of the society are still adamant to change, humans have made steps towards the right direction. There have been times where humanity took steps back, for instance the case that took place 2 months ago in Toronto, where a Caucasian woman refused to receive treatment for her son because there was no white doctor present. She believed that the non-white doctors were not educated enough and was willing to wait for four more hours for a white doctor to start his shift. Cases like this not only bring shame to Canada, which is one of the most diverse countries in the world, they also bring down the efforts non-white people went through to earn their rights and freedom.
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