A follow-up to last week’s post on director Sylvia Hamilton’s 30-minute film that takes a look at the lives of a group of black students in their predominantly white high school in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the daily reminders of racism they face (here), watch this even longer, and more historically-relevant 50-minute documentary, titled “Speakers for the Dead,” which reveals some of the *forgotten* history of Blacks in Canada – specifically, the original black settlers of Priceville, Ontario, Canada, who’ve been there for centuries, and whose long-time presence and contributions have been mostly ignored.
The short story goes… in the 1930s in rural Ontario, a farmer destroyed the tombstones of a Black cemetery to make way for a potato farm. 50 years late, in the 1980s, descendants of the original settlers, Black and White, came together to restore the cemetery, but there were hidden truths no one wanted to discuss, as long-standing, deep racial wounds were opened.
“Speakers for the Dead” tackles this history, and includes scenes of the cemetery excavation, interviews with those who came together to restore it, as well as re-enactments – including one of a baseball game where a broken headstone is used for home plate.
The film was directed by Jennifer Holness and David Sutherland – the black Canadian film and television filmmakers/producers/screenwriters behind the recent feature drama “Home Again,” which stars Tatyana Ali, Lyriq Bent, Stephan James, Richard Chevolleau, C.C.H. Pounder, and Fefe Dobson.
Watch the 50-minute documentary below: