When the Stars Begin to Fall

Africville be the place that make my heart sing. I ain’t lived here in ‘bout twenty years, but it ain’t really changed none. Soon as I come round the south end of Bedford Basin, I sees it—Kildare’s Field, spotted with poppies, and Albermarle Street with the schoolhouse where I usta sit, thinkin’ there be somethin’ out there for me sparklin’ even more than the sunlight on the waters of Halifax Harbour. And the church, always the church. See, when the ancestors got here, God had traveled with them through all the hardships and privations and He needed a place to put down roots. He been given a glorious one in Seaview Baptist Church. It don’ look like much from the outside, but inside on a Sunday mornin’, let me tell you, it be somethin’ else. The clappin’ and the praisin’ and the singin’—it be where I learns my trade, at the old rickety piano at the front. Like I say, the place that make my heart sing.

Africville be where the ancestors come when they get up to Canada from the States and find white folk here don’ want them any more than the Americans do. Almost nowhere left to go after they already come from Africa to the southern states to the northern states and then close to the top of the world. But they did find theyselves a green spot by the sea that it seem nobody else want. Would have been Mi’ maq land, I guess, but if the Mi’ kmaq sore, they never said, and we ain’t never hurt them. Matter of fact, lots of us, me included, has Mi’ kmaq blood. I know I ain’t been in Africville for a long time, but it still my home, and I almost lets out a chorus when I cross the railroad tracks.