Black Cultural Society marks 40th anniversary

NEW GLASGOW — One of many visits took place recently at Second United Baptist Church for the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

More than 50 people viewed, listened to and exchanged vignettes of the history of African Nova Scotians in Pictou County and elsewhere during the hour-long presentation that featured an historical account by New Glasgow resident Francis Dorrington of the town’s African Nova Scotian community.

His public service included several terms on town council and chairing the Aberdeen Hospital Board.

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He noted the 14 individuals who claimed African descent in an 1881 census and lamented the sources of local industrial employment that have long since disappeared.

“We haven’t got the jobs we used to have,” he said. “Times have changed.”

He implored people to reach out for what they aspired to do with their lives.

“If you want something, put your shoulder to the wheel,” he said.

Society president Craig Smith began the series of remarks by sharing its ongoing goal of profiling the ANS community that all Nova Scotians can access and appreciate.

“We have set out to connect black communities across the province,” he said.

The society’s celebration of its birth in 1977 coincided with the salute to the Black Cultural Centre that was established in 1983.

“I think we’re more relevant than we ever were,” Smith said. “There is strength in our members.”

Executive director Russell Grosse brought greetings on behalf of the centre and encouraged everyone to visit it on line and in person.

“Black history is not lost,” he said. “My goal is to make you feel the Centre is as much yours as it is mine. We hope people who walk into the Centre look at it, not just as black history, but as Nova Scotia’s history.”

New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks reminded people of the first annual Voila Desmond Heritage Concert that is taking place September 16 at Glasgow Square in memory of the celebrated business woman whose forced exit from a movie theatre in 1946 after she challenged its racial segregation. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the concert will start at 6 p.m.


Sandra Andersen, centre, presided over the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia’s 40th anniversary celebrations at Second United Baptist Church in New Glasgow. With her are Black Cultural Centre executive director Russell Grosse, left, and Black Cultural Society president Craig M. Smith. (Goodwin photo)

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Steve Goodwin
Steve Goodwin was born in Amherst, N.S. and has been a journalist for more than 40 years. He has been a resident of Pictou County for nearly 40 years.