The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic unveiled its latest exhibit yesterday, marking the place of the slave trade in Maritime history in time for the upcoming 175th anniversary of abolition in Canada.
John Hennigar-Shuh, the museum’s manager of development and partnerships, said On the Road North: Black Canada and the Journey to Freedom is an exhibit that “tells the story of successive movements out of slavery in the (United) States and into Canada.”
“There was for years a sense that the Maritime heritage of this province was owned by old white guys with beards,” Hennigar-Shuh said.
“This exhibit helps us to underline for everyone who comes here that our history is diverse and marvellously complex, and is something that belongs to all of us.”
An exhibit highlight is a “freedom quilt” loaned to the museum by the North Preston Senior Citizens’ Club. Club president Alvira Cain said 20 people took more than a year to complete the quilt, adding the project was one way in which her group is “trying to keep our stories alive from our older ancestors.”
“Everything that we make has history to it,” Cain said. “What we learned from our own ancestors, now we’re teaching our young ones, so it will never fade away.”
Cain, who is descended from the black loyalists who originally settled in the Preston area, said four sailing ships depicted in the quilt represent the vessels that brought her ancestors to freedom in Nova Scotia.