History

The opening of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children in 1921 was described as “the greatest event in the history of the colored people of Nova Scotia” .

On June 6th, 1921, a 3/4 mile parade of dignitaries and a crowd of 3000 spectators heralded the opening of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children. This was the largest gathering of Blacks since the arrival of the Loyalists to the Province in 1783.

From the onset, it was the leadership and dedication of Mr. James A. Ross Kinney, Manager and Secretary Treasurer and Mr. Henry G. Bauld, President, which sustained the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children for the first 21 years of its early existence.

After ten years of operating, the Board of Directors was forced to launch its first Annual Broadcast for Funds in 1931. A positive response from the government, African United Baptist Association (AUBA) churches, local residents and other community wide supporters met this challenge. The transition from radio to television lives on today in the form of a Christmas telethon, on EastLink Television.

Although the dream of an educational institute for Black students by Lawyer James R. Johnston, never materialized, the on-site Henry G. Bauld Elementary School filled this void. This two-room school house offered such studies as K-9, industrial arts and domestic science to residents and neighbouring students alike. The school played a major role in the lives of teachers of segregated schools throughout the province, many of whom taught their first classes at this location.

The former school house is now used as a meeting place for local community groups.

In later years, under the guidance of Dr. Melville Cumming, President, aka “Mr. Agriculture”, the Home prospered as a commercial farming outlet and placement centre for agricultural students, who worked the fields along side of the older residents.

As contemporaries, Mr. Noel Johnston, Industrial Arts teacher and Mr. J. A. R. Kinney, Jr., co-founded the George Washington Carver Credit Union, a Black owned financial institution on the site of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children property.

It was the inspiration of Dr. Rev. W. P. Oliver, Board Member, which gave rise to the Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia, which was constructed on the Home’s property in 1983.

Since 1983, the Home has leased property to the Watershed Association Development Enterprises (WADE), a Black community development group.

The superintendent’s cottage was leased to a local family.

As society changed throughout North America, the mandate of the Home shifted in accordance. The two world wars, the American civil rights movement, the closure of large orphanages and the desegregation of schools all contributed to the closure of the Old Orphanage building.

Since 1978, operating from two modern residential centres, the Home serves a co- ed clientele (30 in the outset) base of twelve youths, 12 to 16 years of age, the majority of whom are non-Black. Since the child care institutions of today are open to persons of all racial origins, there is a smaller population at the Home, although the inpiduals needs have not decreased.

In 1985, the Rev. Dr. Donald E. Fairfax Chapel was dedicated to commemorate the inspirational work of this inpidual, on behalf of the Home, over a 35 year period.

In 1994, Mr. Charles R. Saunders, local Daily News columnist, wrote Share & Care: the Story of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, chronicling the compelling history of this great institution; a book that was marketed throughout the local book stores and libraries.

On October 17th & 18th, 1996, the Home celebrated its 75th Anniversary and sponsored the “Black Family Focus: Year 2000”, a conference featuring guest speaker Dr. Clifton Davis, acclaimed movie, stage and television actor.
The opening of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children in 1921 was described as “the greatest event in the history of the colored people of Nova Scotia” .

On June 6th, 1921, a 3/4 mile parade of dignitaries and a crowd of 3000 spectators heralded the opening of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children. This was the largest gathering of Blacks since the arrival of the Loyalists to the Province in 1783.

As we moved towards the new millennium, Y2K (Year 2000), the Home had embarked upon several strategic plans to determine its future direction. Respondents have asked the Home to do outreach work with non-residents in the community in a preventative manner and to preserve the dignity of the family structure. To meet this need, the Home will expand on its current programs, moving towards the creation of a full child, youth and family service centre. This historical landsite will host the new facility with existing Black organizations to respond to community issues from an Afrocentric perspective.

In 2005, the Provincial Government of Nova Scotia has embarked upon an extensive study of its Child Welfare Services, with a view to redesign the existing programs and facilities. Since the addition of the Cumming Annex section to the Old Home building had deteriorated beyond repair, it became necessary to demolish the extended portions of this facility. 

Overall, we see a significant role for a revitalized and energetic Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, as the setting for a Centre of Excellence for the entire African Nova Scotian community.