Lisa Bower: Assistant Curator and Registrar (Cultural History), Nova Scotia Museum
Abstract: Embroidered pictures composed of text and images known as “samplers” were commonly produced by nineteenth-century white settler schoolgirls across Nova Scotia. A remarkable example made in 1845, by a student at Halifax’s African School, proves the practice was also a part of the Black schoolgirl experience. Samplers changed over time and served multiple purposes. Needlework instruction and production became a paradoxical experience for its students, particularly for young Black Haligonians, simultaneously representing oppression and empowerment.
Wednesday, April 19, 2023, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (Lindsay Children’s Room) and online via Zoom
Dr. Lynn Jones
Abstract: This title unpacks the seemingly unorthodox and unfamiliar location of what we understand to be an archive – in this case – a dining room table. Starting from this location, the evolving archive documents a compilation of Black life gathered from past and present situations locally, nationally, and globally. This is an extraordinary attempt to ensure the invincibility of this distinct people’s experience. Lynn donated over 50 years of materials she personally collected on the history and experiences of Black People in her family, her community and locally, nationally and internationally which is now housed at St. Mary’s University and utilized by scholars, students and community from near and far. Today, she will bring to light, her impetus leading to the creation of the “Lynn Jones African Canadian and Diaspora Heritage Collection.”
Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (Lindsay Children’s Room) or online via Zoom
Evan Jennex: Master’s Student, Dalhousie University
Abstract: On November 30th, 1968, over 400 Black Nova Scotians met at a North-End Halifax library to discuss the creation of a self-deterministic, activist organization called the Black United Front (BUF). Between 1969-1996 the Black United Front held Black cultural events, promoted Black businesses, and highlighted racial barriers present in Nova Scotia. This research analyzes the actions of BUF, focalizing on the relationships between BUF and State institutions that attempted to shift the organization’s direction and activism.
Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (Lindsay Children’s Room) and online via Zoom
Brady Paul: Indigenous Student Advisor, Master’s Student, Saint Mary’s University
Abstract: The colonial bias that motivated aggressive expansion and control in Canada is still prevalent today. The Marshall decision (1999) is a prime example of how the Canadian Federal and Provincial governments still view Indigenous people as “inferior”.
Indigenous sovereignty has been infringed upon since contact with Europeans. The complete disregard for Indigenous Nationhood is not only a historical issue, but a contemporary one. Indigenous autonomy over everyday life must be recognized to truly begin the journey of reconciliation, but it begins with upholding the fundamental principles of the Peace and Friendship treaties.
Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (Lindsay Children’s Room) and online via Zoom
Peter L. Twohig: Saint Mary’s University
Abstract: Based on his recently published illustrated history, this lecture will offer an overview of the history of the Public Gardens, from its origins in the 1830s to the present. The Public Gardens is one of the finest examples of a Victorian garden in North America but despite its timeless qualities, there have been many debates about its design, how it is used, and the neighbourhoods that surround it. This lecture will pay particular attention to these debates.
Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (Lindsay Children’s Room) and via Zoom.
John Grant: Professor (retired), St. Francis Xavier University
Abstract: In 1869, Alexander Forrester, the founding principal of the Provincial Normal School, Truro, NS, died in office. The provincial government replaced him with a colleague who had taught at the school since 1855. Within two months, however, he was removed from office and another was appointed. In 1879, two professors at the school were replaced. In both cases it was student voice and student action that precipitated change. This paper examines the two cases and considers the interwoven roles of politics in the confederation era and the politics of education and religion in the satisfaction of student demands.
Wednesday, November 16, 2022, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (BMO Room) and via Zoom
Nicole Neatby: Professor, History Department, Saint Mary’s University
Abstract: Reviews in Halifax newspapers reveal that blackface performances provoked mixed reactions between the late 1830s when they first appeared and the 1860s. While these shows were clearly popular from the outset among many Haligonians, those who published reviews were highly critical in the early decades. However, it didn’t take long for reviewers’ assessments to evolve. By the 1860s, the derision had subsided and blackface shows gained favour as a form of acceptable mainstream entertainment. This lecture will explore the reasons behind this shift and to what extent these reactions can offer some insights into white Haligonians’ attitudes towards race and class.
Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (Lindsay Children’s Room) and via Zoom
Colin Osmond, Post-doctoral Fellow, Mount Saint Vincent University
Abstract: Every year on July 26th, Mi’kmaq travel to Maligomish to attend Saint Anne’s Day – a Roman Catholic tradition honouring the Mi’kmaq’s patron saint. But the Mission is much more than a Catholic Holy day. For centuries, Mi’kmaq have gathered at Maligomish for a series of important political meetings and cultural events. The continuity of Mi’kmaq traditions highlights Mi’kmaw agency and cultural persistence – despite enormous colonial pressure to ‘assimilate’ in the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (Lindsay Children’s Room, 2nd floor) and via Zoom
Phyllis R. Blakeley Memorial Lecture
Jennifer VanderBurgh, Department of English Language and Literature, Saint Mary’s University
Abstract: This talk is part of a week of screenings, exhibitions, and special events to mark the new, digital release of over 50 films made between 1945-1969 by Nova Scotia government filmmaker, Margaret Perry. These promotional films are complex artefacts that articulate and reflect understandings of government policies, cultural discourses, as well as Perry’s own perspectives and artistic voice. Jennifer VanderBurgh has been working to activate this collection housed at Nova Scotia Archives. Her research reframes and animates these “government films” and encourages us to expand our understandings of their significance. This lecture will introduce the collection, the process of activating it, as well the discovery of new materials that bring more information to light about Perry’s artistic development and filmmaking practice. It will also consider some of the ethical complexities and considerations that are at stake in reviving this collection today.
Abstract: Some Acadian men’s names like Joseph Beausoleil, René LeBlanc and Pierre Melanson are familiar to many people but have you ever asked yourselves about the women in their lives? How did women’s support, determination and leadership help to build and preserve Acadian identity? A few rare comments can
be found in history books but the information is sparse and scattered. Join Susan for her look at Acadian society from a female lens.