NATIVE BORN is an important historical sketch of the Black community in New Glasgow. It was not written by professional historians but by a group of interested citizens desirous of making a contribution to the community's first official "Homecoming."
From a variety of written and oral sources, the authors have gathered significant pieces of the history of our people and have put them together much like a craftsperson makes a patchwork quilt. Happily, the juxtaposition of each piece alongside the others forms a harmonious whole that informs, motivates and inspires us all.
With a broad brush the authors describe how our New Glasgow story relates to the larger history of Nova Scotia Blacks with respect to late eighteenth century origins, the Sierra Leone exodus, and the demographic rebirth during the War of 1812. From that panoramic view the lens shifts to Tracadie and Guysborough counties for the more proximate source of our origins in New Glasgow which occurred during the opening decades of the twentieth century. The authors then whet our appetites with their sociological and anthropological scan of the way things were relative to employment, housing and education. Further, they give us a passing glimpse of the social and religious functions of the church and its leadership, social and recreational activities (highlighting baseball and boxing), newspaper publication, home remedies for illnesses, participation in the World Wars and other things many of us remember so well. Through it all, however, the authors rightfully place our story against the background of societal racism that permeated the environment hindering, restricting, confining and threatening the life-chances of individuals and the race as a whole. Yet, the resiliency of the race to survive under the most debilitating circumstances is seen in the many and varied accomplishments that have been gained individually and collectively.
Finally, it is important to say that this story is unfinished and that marks another reason for its noteworthy quality. There remain many gaps in the story and, undoubtedly, some errors. Thus, on behalf of the authors we invite all readers to submit their accounts of other major events they think should be included in such a history as this together with significant accomplishments by individuals living or deceased. For instance, I, personally think that the explosion at the Allen Shaft in 1918 and the mine cave-in 1920 should be mentioned since it claimed the lives of many of our men, including my paternal and maternal grand-fathers respectively. A section containing old family recipes might also be included. In short, let us hear from you in preparation for a revised and enlarged second edition of this important document. We are truly indebted to all who contributed in any way to this historical project and especially to those who took the initiative to bring the idea to life.
Peter J. Paris
Elmer G. Homrighausen Professor Christian Social Ethics
Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton N.J.