AFRICAN DESCENT FESTIVAL REJUVINATING VANCOUVERS FORGOTTEN HERITAGE FOR PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT IN VANCOUVER: COME AND LEARN ABOUT OUR PAST IN VANCOUVER.

A wild crowd at the African Descent Festival in Vancouver, British Columbia, 2018(Photo credit: Africant Descent Society)A wild crowd at the African Descent Festival in Vancouver, British Columbia, 2018(Photo credit: Africant Descent Society)

A wild crowd at the African Descent Festival in Vancouver, British Columbia, 2018(Photo credit: Africant Descent Society)

July 15th, 2019(Vancouver, BC) —  Beatty lane at the corner of Pender and Cambie is unknown heritage place for the people of African Descent in Vancouver. Yasin believed that this community believed to be the oldest most concentrated people of African Descent in Vancouver early before the community concentrated in what known as Hogan’s Alley in the Strathcona Downtown East. Beatty Lane was the alley between Beatty Street and Old Vancouver Hospital at Pender and Cambie and it is a parking lot today. Yasin believed well that it was the place where African Descent Community pioneers in Vancouver lived early in the 20th century and many played a very important role in the historic heritage of Vancouver making the Beatty Lane a historic geographic community in the history of Vancouver People of African Descent Community. 

This place is where many famous People of African Descent families Like Martha Hiram Scurry, Elijah Scurry, Charles Scurry, Cathy Scurry the mother of Howard Barbara and Joe Fortes and George Palice who became World Heavy Weight boxing champion. Although he (George Palace) did not live at Betty Lane, he operated Vancouver Athletics Clubs there for several years. Other notable people of African Descent settled at 1166 Main Street at the Canada Pacific Rail where many worked as sleeping car porters. It was there where they left to settle in Strathcona particularly around Hogan’s Alley. Hogan’s Alley was ethnically known as diverse Vancouver multicultural neighbourhood with hundreds of diverse multicultural groups of immigrants lived there but it was largely known for its presence of people of African Descent historically known as the Black community hub.

Although the people of African Descent lived at Beatty Lane long before, in 1911, Norah Hendrix a grandmother of famous guitarist Jimmy Hendrix arrived in Vancouver and few years later, in 1918, she mobilised people of African Descent to buy the Church of their own if they could not own a cultural centre. A fundraising campaign was set up and by 1935; they purchased African Fountain Chapel also known as African Methodist Episcopal Church located at 823 Jackson and Prior Street in Vancouver, Downtown Eastside. The presence of African Fountain Chapel changed the face of Vancouver people of African Descent and the way they were viewed by the society.

They bought African Fountain Chapel and this means they got a home, a place, cultural and religious practices which attracted thousands of people African Descent migrated from Beatty Lanes and other parts of Vancouver to Hogan’s Alley permanently settled in Strathcona making this community a significant heritage place for the people of African Descent to date.  This neighbourhood became the entertainment district for the people of African Descent and so many famous superstars have been there in Jimmy Hendrix.

Beatty lane the origin of first African Descent concentrated community in Vancouver. Although it is unknown place to so many current immigrants and remained a forgotten place to the City’s African Descent Community, Beatty Lane was the very first largest concentration of people of African Descent in Vancouver in 19th century and Martha Hiram Scurry is one of the most well known families including Joe Fortes who lived there. Beatty Lane was between Beatty and Cambie Street, running from the Cambie Street Grounds now the parking lot across from the Beatty Street Drill Hall and the Old Vancouver City Hall at the Pender and Cambie which is currently a parking lot.

It was this community once a small colony of People of African Descent lived there in the early 20th century. So many several of them played important or interesting roles in the local history, making Beatty Lane an significant place in the geographical heritage sites for people of African Descent community. It is this community where one of Vancouver sports athlete icon George Palace a heavy weight boxing champion of African Descent often hung around with Joe Fortes yet many of them knows nothing about these sports icons making our heritage completely forgotten in Vancouver. African Descent Festival aim to rejuvenate such history to make it arrive to our community and next generation to come to understand about the major historic contribution of our community in Vancouver during 19th and 20th centuries.

Please, visit www.africandescentfestival.com for more history about our community or come on July 20 and 21st at 1166 Main Street at the festival to learn more about our festival.

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