People's Odyssey - Exploring Black History

This project's aim and overview

February, 2005) -- Shunpiking magazine's digital web site explores Black History and African Heritage and how we make sense of it. It brings together selected articles from our annual supplements published since 1997 as well as informative articles from other sources. We are publishing it on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, interpreter, navigator, and free man, to Port Royal, New France (in what is now Nova Scotia) in 1604-1606.

Our project was originally conceived, as we put it in February 1998, as "a counter to what we saw as the trivialization and marginalization of a people's history: reducing it to a few choice vignettes and events unconnected from the flow of real history. In order to gain a solid understanding of any segment of history, it is necessary to provide interpretation instead of a steady string of 'happenings'. It is our contention that Black history cannot be understood in separation and isolation from the panorama of the Maritimes, of Canada and world historical and social development." Nor can the life-and-death struggle for democratic rights, the right to be, and against colonialism and racism be pigeonholed. "This is the philosophy, principles and ethics that guide our project."

For a detailed narrative of the history of African Nova Scotians, follow the Timeline. The timeline ordering the complicated sequence of historical events is the foundation of this project. (We are working on a new expanded, updated and illustrated edition, with electronic signposts indicating links to narrative and thematic points of orientation.)

Much of our history is yet to be told or explored. Or project also aims to gather original historical resources and images to open up and explore this history by making them electronically accessible. Over the coming years we aim to digitize a substantial body of primary historical documents including court documents, journal entries, newspaper stories and maps. Each will be viewed in the original print or handwriting or in transcription or as scanned text. An example of what can be done is the 1969 article "Walking Black through Halifax: On the sunnier side of the street" from Weekend Magazine. We invite the participation in the project on the part of the community as well as scholars, museum experts, teachers and learners. Let us know your suggestions and contributions; they are highly valued.

Explore. Let us and others know what you think in the Forum. You are a part of this legacy, and we welcome your comments and your input.

People's Odyssey - Exploring Black History is created by shunpiking magazine on a voluntary basis.

The editors

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Copyright New Media Services Inc. 2004. The views expressed herein are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of shunpiking magazine or New Media Publications.