A village of tents will repopulate the empty Seaview Memorial Park in Halifax Thursday night for the annual Africville Reunion.
Echoed with footage of the 2008 reunion in director Juanita Peters’ new documentary, Africville: Can’t Stop Now, the reunion will bring the community’s descendents and former residents together to reminisce about the good times they had when living there.
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Peters’ documentary follows three members of the Carvery family who are all former residents of the community. For nearly 50 years, Eddie Carvery, his brother Irvine and cousin Nelson have each fought in different ways for some sort of restitution.
“Eddie Carvery is probably the most famous protester in Halifax,” Peters said, while sitting in the shade with documentary producer Marty Williams. “He’s been out there off and on and has risked life and family over this issue.”
Eddie’s trailer by Bedford Basin stands just feet away from the site of the Africville Baptist Church, marked with a cross. The city of Halifax demolished the church one night in 1967. Irvine has also taken a political approach to the issue of compensation.
“He’s been the most publicly vocal on the issue,” Peters said. “Then there’s their cousin, Nelson, who we call the quiet supporter.”
Peters narrates the documentary and said she spent a lot of years doing background for it.
“We started this documentary a year ago, but my research in Africville has been going on for seven-and-a-half years,” she said. “Let me be clear, I never ever wanted to do a film on Africville, because it’s a very complicated story.”
Peters, a Nova Scotia filmmaker, said she was drawn to the story of the three Carvery family members because of their passion. Her documentary, which has already aired on CBC, will be shown at 8 p.m.
“I hope people are inspired,” Peters said. “I hope that people realize that it’s okay to have passion without results.”