BIRCHTOWN, N.S. – The 235th anniversary of the Black Loyalist landing in Shelburne County is going to be celebrated on the July 14 and 15 weekend, with the fourth annual Journey Back to Birchtown at the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre and Historical Site in Birchtown.
The Past, Present and Future is the theme of this year’s Journey Back to Birchtown. Being honoured at this year’s celebration are the late Reverend William Pearly Oliver and his wife Dr. Pearleen Borden Oliver. The couple were leaders for social justice in Nova Scotia and were instrumental in developing the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1945, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission in 1967, the Black United Front in 1969 and the Black Cultural Centre 1983.
As a historian, Dr. Pearleen Oliver also wrote and published the history of Blacks in Nova Scotia. A special exhibit is being prepared in tribute to the Oliver family for the weekend.
A quilt show, a genealogy workshop, performances by Women of the Shore, Maritime African Dance, Qunada and Louise Delisle are on tap for Saturday, July 14. Local youth drummers from Hillcrest Academy will also be taking to the stage.
On Sunday, July 15, the day will start with a church service and hymn singing followed by a ceremony in remembrance of Black Loyalist ancestors. There will also be children’s activities. Events will take place throughout the Black Loyalist Heritage Site.
“We have a lot going on,” said Vanessa Hartley, program assistant the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre.
The Journey to Birchtown programming begins at noon and continues until 5 p.m. both days. There is no admission charge for any events or to the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre.
Although no guided tours will be available that weekend at the centre, the public is welcome to tour the facility, where a new exhibit, On The Road North, donated by Heritage Canada, is now on display.
Bus service from Halifax to Birchtown is available for both days of the Journey Back to Birchtown celebration. For details contact Dynamic Results at 902-220-6627. There is a small fee.