Gloria Ann Wesley Reviews Amanda Carvery-Taylor’s Love Letter to Africville
Amanda Carvery-Taylor has used her talents as a photographer to capture the images of former Africville residents, placing faces on a collage of joyful recollections. The positivity former residents express reveals how treasured their memories have become.
A Love Letter to Africville informs readers of how parents allowed their children freedom to explore their environment, the love of neighbours who looked after each other without feeling inconvenienced, and the fun of swimming, fishing, building bonfires, playing baseball or belonging to organized groups such as Girl Guides, cubs, scouts or cadets.
In this book we discover the hospitality of people towards family, acquaintances and strangers. We learn of adults who were hard working, resourceful, looking inward and searching for ways to get by. Who enjoyed a good party. And most importantly, who valued the safety within the confines of Bedford Basin.
Most importantly, we learn of the investitures of the holy spirit found at Sunday church services and baptisms, guiding their steps and lifting them out of despair.
Forget all the dismal negative images of Africville and the prejudices that fed the neglect that led to its demise. Carvery-Taylor has found a light in the hidden recesses of the hearts of descendants and former residents.
What she achieves with her stories and photos is an illumination of how much more Africville was. It was the pillar stone for good mental health and the stability of people who were hard put upon. More than a love letter, this book is a record of what was lost, beyond bricks and mortar, beyond the tangible.
The lightness of the telling of everyday life satisfies our curiosity, our need to know what city officials missed. Beyond the community of broken wooden structures, muddy roads and a familial church.
Africville, the place where love blossomed, as wondrously as the tall red gladiolas that have become symbols of the residents’ care and appreciation for what they had. Homes can be rebuilt, but a community that evolved over time can never be restored. Hence, the importance of recording the truth tellers and keepers of what was so profoundly important.