We would like to acknowledge that the land on which this exhibit was created is the traditional unceded territory of the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) and Mi’kmaq Peoples. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) and Mi’kmaq Peoples first signed with the British crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.
Since the arrival of Black Loyalists in 1783, there have been settlers of African descent who have contributed greatly to the development of New Brunswick. Working ever so silently, without recognition or applause, families and communities have banded together to contribute in significant ways to the social enfranchisement of themselves and their neighbours; yet despite these positive developments, individuals of African descent continue to face oppression in this province.
This Community Memories Exhibition tells the dynamic story of Blacks who have struggled against servitude and oppression in the Fredericton region. Through artefacts, archival documents, individual and family stories, extracts from oral histories, newspaper accounts, and photographs, we explore the historical roots of oppression, and learn about the ways in which citizens of African descent responded with determination and perseverance. It has been a long journey of mixed feelings and emotions. This is the story of York-Sunbury early Black settlers from 1783 to the present; it is a story of hope denied, hope restored, and hope that (for many) remains unfulfilled.