Salt Spring Island’s black settlers set stage for today’s community

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Former Salt Spring resident Evelyn C. White explores the island’s black history in a photography book

By On The Coast, CBC News

This 1929 class photo from salt Spring Island's Central School shows an impressive degree of diversity. (Salt Spring Archives)
This 1929 class photo from salt Spring Island’s Central School shows an impressive degree of diversity. (Salt Spring Archives)

It may be caricatured as a top destination for hippies and retirees in B.C., but author Evelyn C. White says Salt Spring Island was home to one of B.C.’s most important black communities in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

White explores Salt Spring’s black roots in her book Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone: A Photo Narrative of Black Heritage on Salt Spring Island.

“These were free blacks fleeing oppression in the United States at the time,” she told On The Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko. “They had [left], either through their own will, or they had been given freedom after their master died, or they had run away from the slave states to Northern California.”

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