February is African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia, a time to recognize the long-standing history of people of African descent in the development of Nova Scotia and Canada. Nova Scotia has over 50 historic African Nova Scotian communities with a long, deep, and complex history dating back over 200 years.

The Town of Lunenburg held a Pan-African Flag raising ceremony on Wednesday, Feb 2nd in recognition of African History Month, with special guests Andreas Robinson of Live Infinitus (who is leading the Town’s anti-racism team), Tracey Mulder and Paul Ash from the South Shore Regional Centre for Education (SSRCE), and Bluenose Academy students Amora (grade 8) and Sawyer (grade 7).

Read more about African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia here:

For photos of the event and the text of the addresses at the flag raising ceremony, see below.

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Hello and welcome to the UNESCO flagpoles in the Town of Lunenburg. I’m Mayor Matt Risser.

February is African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia, so we are here today to raise the Pan-African flag in honour of Black Nova Scotians past and present in the Town of Lunenburg.

We’re pleased to welcome special guests Andreas Robinson of Live Infinitus, the lead on the consultant team working with the Town on our anti-racism action plan, and Tracey Mulder, the Regional Coordinator of African Canadian Education Services from the South Shore Regional Centre for Education, with students Amora and Sawyer from Bluenose Academy.

Also in attendance today are Ashley Feener, the Constituency Assistant representing the Honourable Susan Corkum-Greek, Nova Scotia Minister of Economic Development and MLA for Lunenburg, who had planned to be here but was called to Halifax, as well as Councillors Stephen Ernst, Ed Halverson, and Deputy Mayor Peter Mosher.

African Heritage Month is a time to recognize that contrary to many people’s knowledge, there was indeed slavery in Canada – for 200 years prior to the 1834 abolishment of slavery throughout the British Empire. This is a part of our history we all need to know more about.

One such historical event is the 1792 migration of Black Loyalists to Sierra Leone. Last month the Town issued a proclamation for the #1792 Project declaring January 15th the 230th anniversary of the “Black Loyalist Exodus: 15 Ships to Sierra Leone”. After the American Revolution, thousands of African Americans who fought in British Regiments for the promise of land and freedom from enslavement arrived in the Maritimes. But there was no safe haven. They were cheated out of land, denied equal status, and met with hostility and violence. British abolitionists assisted the departure of 1190 Black Loyalists from Nova Scotia to the new colony of Sierra Leone on the southwest coast of Africa.

There is a Lunenburg connection to this exodus in the story of Lydia Jackson. Lydia was a free Black Loyalist settler who was abandoned by her husband and tricked into signing an agreement for a term of indenture. She was sold to Dr. John David Bolman of Lunenburg as if she were a slave. Bolman, his wife, and servants abused Lydia severely. She escaped and walked all the way to Halifax to bring her case to the governor and the chief justice in Halifax. It’s hard to imagine the kind of courage that would take, but her attempts failed. Lydia joined the Black Loyalist emigration to Sierra Leone.

These years are uncomfortable to examine but vital that we do – especially for those of us who are descendants of European colonists – so that we understand the whole of our history and learn to do better today.

Now I’d like to ask Andreas Robinson to say a few words about the work his team is doing for the Town on anti-racism initiatives. Andreas?

Spoke about the Town’s work on anti-racism initiatives, the importance of shared language and a regional approach.

Thank you, Andreas. Town Council and staff are grateful for your expertise and guidance.

And now I’d like to ask Tracey Mulder to say a few words about the importance of events like this for young people.

• As the Regional Coordinator of African Canadian Education, it is my honour to bring greetings on behalf of the South Shore Regional Centre for Education for African Heritage Month.
• Welcome to African Heritage Month 2022.
• Theme selected for this year is Through Our Eyes: The Voices of African Nova Scotians.
• In Canada, February is a month designated to celebrate and acknowledge the many accomplishments of people of African descent all over the world.
• The history of African peoples is a part of the fabric of global history, Canadian history, and Nova Scotian history - to be celebrated all 12 months of the year, not just February.
• Use this month and many events that are taking place this month as a starting point to begin to explore rich history of people of African descent in region, province, country, and world.
• Thank you to the Town of Lunenburg, Mayor Risser, Kelly and Heather for the invitation to participate in this event to mark the beginning of African Heritage Month.
• We look forward to continuing our partnership in promoting and acknowledging our shared history.
• Special Thank you to the students and staff from Bluenose Academy for agreeing to be a part of this ceremony.

(Regional Executive Director, SSRCE) Spoke about why public ceremonies like this are important for students of African Nova Scotian descent to witness being included and recognized; expressed regret that other students are unable to come with pandemic restrictions; noted that diverse events are important for both diverse communities and the broader community at large.

Thank you, Tracey and Paul.

The flag we’re raising today was created 100 years ago in 1920. The Pan-African flag features three equal horizontal stripes:
• Red: the blood that unites all people of Black African ancestry, and shed for liberation;
• Black: Black people whose existence as a nation, though not a nation-state, is affirmed by the existence of the flag; and
• Green: the abundant natural wealth of Africa.

Now I’d like to invite Amora and Sawyer to raise the flag for African Heritage Month.


Thank you Amora and Sawyer for raising the flag. Hopefully by 2023 school COVID-19 restrictions will be relaxed enough to allow more of your classmates to be here with us!

Thank you again to Andreas Robinson, Tracey Mulder and Paul Ash for taking the time to be with us today. And thank you to those who came out to the flagpole on a very chilly Wednesday.

Have a good afternoon.

 Pan African Flag 1

Pan African Flag 2