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S&A 2014 Highlights: Watch ‘Speakers for the Dead’ Doc on *Hidden* History of Blacks in Canada

S&A 2014 Highlights: Watch 'Speakers for the Dead' Doc on *Hidden* History of Blacks in Canada

Editor’s Note: Over the next week, I’ll be republishing the year’s (2014’s) most popular post, as I’ve done almost every year since this site was launched. Some of you would have already read each item, but I’m also certain that others have not, given that the site’s reach continues to grow regularly, attracting new readers daily – readers who likely haven’t read much of what was published on this site before they discovered it. But it’s also a way to look back on the year, as it comes to an end, as we remind ourselves of what caught and held our attention over the past 12 months, based on what we wrote about, and what you all reacted to. How did I determine the most popular posts? In short, we use Google’s robust traffic analytics application, which tells me which posts received the most activity. I also combined that info with social media (Facebook and Twitter specifically) activity on each post shared to narrow my choices down. I’ll be publishing the posts that made the final list, starting with the least popular of the most popular posts published on S&A in 2014. So, without further ado, here’s the first of many to come:

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:

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