Shelburne County Historian To Receive Order Of Canada

Posted on Sunday, December 31, 2017 10:11 AM

Historian Elizabeth Cromwell is being honoured for her work in preserving Black Loyalist heritage in Nova Scotia.

Cromwell is among 125 Canadians who will receive the Order of Canada in 2018.

The Shelburne County woman has worked for years to have Black Loyalist history recognized.

"The most interesting thing about Black Loyalist history was that, a lot of people didn't understand or know because no one ever talked about the fact that Black Loyalists were settlers in Nova Scotia, we didn't learn that in school," says Cromwell.

A descendent of Black Loyalists who came to the area after the American Revolution, Cromwell says she was motivated to bring attention to the heritage often forgotten in Canadian history books. 

Since the 1990s,she worked with community members to build and expand the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown.

Cromwell says she was hesitant to accept the award at first.

"What I did with the Black Loyalist society was really a labour of love and even though when I look back and I think of the difficult times, at the time, it just felt like the right thing to do."

Since it's creation, Cromwell says the centre has become a focal point of the community, drawing locals and tourists alike.

Black Loyalists came to Nova Scotia, settling in various communities after the American Revolution.

The largest of those settlements was Birchtown.