Quarterly Newsletter: April-June, 2017

The spring quarter was productive and encouraging. A marker was dedicated in Galveston, Texas; networking and promoting the Project were ongoing, especially along the Gulf Coast and at the CLAW Conference in Charleston; and production has begun of a documentary video highlighting the Project’s first five years. The Executive Board continues to identify funding sources to address travel and expenses related to organizing at the remaining 26 arrival sites where ancestral remembrance ceremonies and historic marker installations need to take place.

In May, at the 1st annual conference held by Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage (SDUSMP), MPCPMP was recognized for “outstanding leadership” in efforts to commemorate African ancestors who perished during the Middle Passage.

To maximize resources, MPCPMP is strengthening its association with international and national organizations. This quarter we focused on the UNESCO Slave Trade Route Project and are in the process of developing a joint submission for site logo designation for Boston, New York (African Burial Ground), Point Comfort/Hampton/Fort Monroe, Charleston (Sullivan’s Island), Key West (African cemetery), and New Orleans. Five of these sites are supported and maintained by the National Park Service. By 2018, each will have a physical marker related to the Middle Passage.

There are several locations where MPCPMP will renew efforts to install markers: Connecticut (Middletown and New London), Florida (Amelia Island and Pensacola), and Maryland (Annapolis). If anyone can suggest people or groups please contact us.

Alabama: With the assistance of members of the Middle Passage Coalition, MPCPMP is contacting people who have a direct association with Africa Town and Mobile.

Louisiana: As New Orleans has removed monuments to the Confederacy, simultaneously plans for markers to address African and African American history have progressed. Marker texts and design related to both the transatlantic and domestic human trade have been completed and should be installed no later than 2018.

Maryland: The Maryland Middle Passage Committee (MDMPC) is reorganizing under the leadership of Co-chairs Regina Hartfield and Rosa Long. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh accepted an informational packet from the MDMPC, and the Committee will follow up with a request for a formal meeting with her or one of her staff. Local fundraiser Roslyn Steward was a guest speaker at the April meeting. She presented a variety of fundraising strategies and volunteered to assist the Committee with its efforts.

As part of activities during the Kunta Kinte Festival, September 23, 2017, MPCPMP is requesting that a Middle Passage marker be installed at the Annapolis waterfront to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the arrival of Ligonier (1767), the ship made famous in Alex Haley’s Roots.

Massachusetts: The marker text has been drafted and an installation site selected. Additional funding must be identified.

New Jersey: We are waiting for notification of a date for the installation of markers in Camden.

North Carolina: There has been no activity in this area. The Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, has drafted a letter of support for the Project.

Rhode Island: The statewide committee continues to hold meetings and lectures and to coordinate planning for markers and ceremonies. Consideration for digitizing the state’s Middle Passage and human trade history is underway to complement this public history.

The city of Newport, RI, has selected Liberty Square as the location for its Middle Passage marker. www.newportri.com/newportdailynews/page_one/middle-passage-marker-finds-home-i-liberty-square/article_8db194db-1e43-5393-b972-72274fe764c3.html

Texas: On June 10, 2017, as part of a week-long celebration of Juneteenth, residents of Galveston dedicated a Middle Passage marker that will be installed at the Seaport Museum.

We appreciate all of you who support this work and look forward to completing our mission by 2020.

Contact us: middlepassagemarkers@gmail.com

Visit Facebook: The Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project

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