Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia

Image: The exterior of the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia (courtesy Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia)

On April 24, 1982, the sod was turned for a centre to mark the history and achievements of the Black communities of Nova Scotia. Sevente months later, on September 17, 1983, the Centre celebrated its official opening. In some ways it was the end of a journey and in others a beginning.

The proposal for the centre was put forth by Reverend Dr. William Pearly Oliver in 1972. He envisioned a cultural educational centre to meet the needs and aspirations of Nova Scotia's Black communities. The Society for the Protection and Preservation of Black Culture in Nova Scotia (better known as the Black Cultural Society) was incorporated as a charitable organization in 1977.

The Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia welcomes visitors to experience the story of why thousands of people with African heritage came to be Canadians, in Nova Scotia, almost a hundred years before Canadian Confederation. At the same time when African men and women continued to be captured, chained and forced into servitude, thousands of free Black settlers arrived in Nova Scotia from the US and Caribbean. Following the American War for Independence and the War of 1812, thousands of Blacks voluntarily migrated to Canada.

The centre explores the history of settlement through artifacts, charts and images, including some that explain how more than 20 small remote villages were organized so that their populations could work together with people beyond their own local communities.

Many events have taken place at the centre, such as cultural portrayals in the form of music, plays, concerts, as well as educational activities in the form of workshops, lectures and guided tours. Programs of the Black Cultural Centre extend beyond its doors to the broader community of Nova Scotia. This outreach is achieved through cultural events across Nova Scotia.

Black Cultural Centre For Nova Scotia
The website for the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia, an organization that serves to protect, preserve, and promote Black Culture in Nova Scotia.

Born with a call: a biography of Dr. William Pearly Oliver, C.M.
A biography of the Black Nova Scotian Baptist minister, Rev. Dr. William Pearly Oliver, whose vision of a centre devoted to the history and achievements of African Nova Scotians led to the development of the Nova Scotia Black Cultural Centre in 1983. Scroll down to page 137 to read more about Dr. William Pearly Oliver and the Black Cultural Centre. From the Our Roots website.

Black Cultural Centre
About the genesis of the Black Cultural Center for Nova Scotia. From the Multicultural Trails of Nova Scotia website.

Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
Scroll down to page 174 for a brief note about the individuals who were instrumental in the establishment of the Black Cultural Centre in Nova Scotia. From Google Books. Note: website loads slowly.

Rev. Dr. W.P. Oliver Wall of Honour
Profiles of outstanding community leaders in the Nova Scotia Black Community. Includes a brief biography of Dr. William P. Oliver. From the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia.

Dr. William Pearly Oliver and the search for black self-identity in Nova Scotia
This online digitized book chronicles the life and accomplishments of the esteemed Black community leader Dr. William Pearly Oliver. From the Our Roots website.

The Vision of W.P. Oliver
Senator Donald Oliver pays tribute to W.P. Oliver, legendary leader of the Black community in Nova Scotia.

Black History Month
This site is devoted to the annual celebration of Canada’s Black History Month. See profiles of notable Black Canadians and videos that highlight many of the Black community's outstanding contributions to our shared history and heritage. From Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Canadian Black History - An Interactive Experience
Search for clues about Black Canadian history in this interactive online treasure hunt presented by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.