Black United Front

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Black United Front

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Description area

Dates of existence

1968-1996

History

The Black United Front arose out of a meeting held on 30 November 1968 in Halifax to discuss the creation of an organization to act as an advocate and resource agency for the black community in Nova Scotia. An interim committee was established to secure funding. On 15 August 1969 the federal government announced its financial support, leading to the creation of the Black United Front (BUF). It was incorporated under the Societies' Act on 13 January 1970. The new organization was to be governed by a Provincial Council composed of elected representatives from each black community and an appointed Executive Director with support staff. Among the objectives of the new organization were: obtaining economic and political power for Blacks, promoting black history and culture, assisting in the development of a positive black self-image, developing leadership and community organization skills and providing resources through which the black community could access self-help programmes. Throughout its twenty-seven year history BUF accessed or created numerous government and private programmes in order to benefit the black community. It assisted clients in finding employment through such federal programmes as LIP, SEED, LEAP, Outreach, OYC, Community Student Service Program, and CEIC funding. It also provided legal assistance, publicized human rights concerns of individuals and communities, and offered mediation services and race relations counselling to schools, employers, and government departments. Since most of the black communities in the province were underdeveloped and without services, BUF's community and outreach workers assisted in securing adequate water supplies, solved many housing problems and land clarification issues, and provided social services assistance to clients requiring affordable housing and health resources. The isolation of these communities was also reduced through a communications network consisting of provincial council meetings, meetings with community workers, and circulation of BUF newspapers, newsletters and circulars. BUF was one of the first advocates for a Black Cultural Centre (established in 1983) through its promotion of black culture and history via cable television programmes, black cultural expos, black history month and similar methods. It also conducted several demographic profiles of black communities to obtain little-known statistics on black populations. In late 1983 a funding crisis occurred when the provincial government withdrew its financial support due to what it considered to be funding irregularities. On 10 October 1984 funding was restored after an acceptable interim organization was created to restructure the organization. The reconstituted organization continued to promote earlier BUF objectives and also paid greater attention to education and literacy, affirmative action, and provision of legal services. By early 1996, however, a negative media profile plus continuous under-funding and a lack of accountability and government commitment led to the disbandment of the organization.

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