MPCPMP Quarterly Newsletter: January – March 2017

During this quarter, Project efforts focused primarily on networking, grant solicitation, and preparing for marker installations in Camden, NJ; Galveston, TX; and Boston, MA.

  • In January, MPCPMP made a presentation at the quarterly meeting of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission in St. Augustine, FL, and a formal submission for partnership with the Commission. One third of the documented US Middle Passage arrival sites are located within the Corridor.
  • The College of Charleston accepted a panel proposal, “The Public History of the Middle Passage,” for its conference, Transforming Public History from Charleston to the Atlantic World scheduled for June 14-17. Panelists include Gene Tinnie (Dos Amigos/Fair Rosamond Slave Ship Project), Eurica Huggins-Axum (African Diaspora Ancestral Commemoration Institute), and Ann Chinn (Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project). The panel is scheduled for June 15, 2017, at 10:00 am.
  • Continued efforts are being made to include the 48 documented arrival sites in the UN Slave Trade Route Project. Discussion has begun with Professor Jane Landers, newly appointed US representative on the trade route committee. To date, no US or North American sites are included.
  • MPCPMP completed and published a primer, The Middle Passage: Remembering Ancestors, and a booklet of the Project’s chronological record (2012-2016) of ceremonies and These will be used as educational and promotional materials as we address the remaining unmarked sites.
  • On March 29th, MPCPMP presented at a graduate seminar on Public History at Northeastern University.

Connecticut: After extended discussions with state representatives, the Executive Board agreed that work in the state will reorganize and specifically address Middletown and New London as locales with documented Middle Passage history rather than include New Haven (which has not been documented). A new state committee must be formed.

Louisiana: The New Orleans committee is working on the text for two markers related to the human trade: international and domestic. Presently, they are researching a marker manufacturer. The installation and commemoration activities are planned as part of the city’s tricentennial observance in 2018-19.

Maryland: On March 2nd, state committee members introduced the Project to the MD Assembly’s Legislative Black Caucus. Materials were provided to all members with a request for a formal letter of support to acknowledge the role the state of Maryland played in the enslavement of Africans and to facilitate the installation of the public history markers at the remaining unmarked arrival sites in the state: Annapolis, Baltimore, and Oxford. Regina Hartfield is a new co-Chair of the MD committee, replacing Stephanie Franklin. The website is under construction and the Facebook page is operational at: Maryland Middle Passage Committee.

Massachusetts: Members of the committee continue to work on the logistics related to marker text and design. In the effort to identify hosting for the Boston Middle Passage website, the committee has begun outreach to Northeastern University.

New Jersey: Camden completed the text for 3 markers scheduled for installation in mid-2017. The date has not been confirmed.

Perth Amboy will schedule a date for an MPCPMP presentation to the City Council that will include a request for a Middle Passage marker once Camden determines the date for its installation.

North Carolina: Weather and politics have so far prevented any further development in organizing to address the state’s five documented Middle Passage sites.

Rhode Island: Progress continues at the four Middle Passage arrival sites in the state. A major focus has been on lectures at several universities that discuss the history of slavery and the trade to Rhode Island.

Texas: As part of the annual Juneteenth celebration, the Middle Passage marker will be installed on June 10th (fittingly, the initial day of a week-long observance of emancipation history) at the seaport museum in Galveston.

As always, thank you for your support and interest in this effort to affirm the value and importance of ancestors and history – Black Lives Matter: Past, Present, and Future.

 

Website:  www.middlepassageproject.org

Facebook: The Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project

Email:  middlepassagemarkers@gmail.com

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