At its height in the 1930s and 1940s, the Black population in the Strathcona neighbourhood of Vancouver numbered approximately 800. It was a mixed community of mainly Italian, Chinese and Blacks.
In 1958 the Vancouver City Council approved a “redevelopment plan” that called for the demolition of nearly all of Strathcona which resulted in the suspension of regular city maintenance; no new construction was allowed and property values plummeted. Owners were forced to sell and finally houses were expropriated.
By 1967, more than a dozen blocks, including the western section of Hogan’s Alley, had been leveled for the new viaduct, essentially destroying the centre of Strathcona’s Black neighbourhood and parts of Chinatown.
*Some years later the Hogan’s Alley Society (HAS) was formed. “Hogan’s Alley Society advocates for Black Vancouverites who have endured the legacies of urban renewal and their erasure from the official historical narrative.” It is a non-profit organization composed of civil rights activists, business professionals, community organizations, artists, writers and academics committed to daylighting the presence of Black history in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia.
Commemorative Stamp issued January 2014. William Spotts grew up on Vancouver Island, moved to Strathcona circa 1902 and opened a business. Nora Hendrix is the grandmother of famed musician Jimi Hendrix, arrived circa 1912 Community leader and a co-founder of Vancouver’s first Black church, the African Methodist Episcopal Fountain Chapel at Prior and Jackson Avenue.