On the international level, the United Nations issued a report on reparations. We are doing our part by memorializing Middle Passage African ancestors at the 52 documented U.S. arrival locations for the purpose of promoting truth-telling, justice, and healing. In June, we added to that number the three U.S. territories with Middle Passage history – San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Croix and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands – raising the number to 55 documented locations.
Michelle Bachelot, U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, states that “Reparations should not only be equated with financial compensation” but should also include restitution, rehabilitation, acknowledgement of injustices, apologies, memorialization, and educational reforms and “guarantees” that such injustices won’t happen again.
Compensation should be considered at the “collective and the individual level,” she says, while adding that any such process “starts with acknowledgment” of past wrongs, and “it’s not one-size-fits-all.” She said countries must look at their own pasts and practices to assess how to proceed.
The U.N. report calls on countries to make ” amends for centuries of violence and discrimination,” such as through “formal acknowledgment and apologies, truth-telling processes and reparations in various forms.” Mona Rishmawi, a member of the Commission, points out that, “Our message, therefore, is that this situation is untenable.”
In achieving our goals in 2021, MPCPMP has:
- Conducted a speaker series during February 2021 on aspects of Middle Passage history
- Appointed Ann Cobb as Executive Director of the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project effective March 2021;
- Assisted in the installation of Middle Passage markers in Perth Amboy, NJ; Oxford. MD; and Pensacola, FL;
- Collaborated with Emory University’s Center for Digital Scholarship and the Voyages Database Consortium to submit a letter of inquiry for a grant from the Mellon Foundation designated for monuments;
- Worked closely with community representatives in Beaufort, NC; Beaufort, SC; Annapolis, MD; Baltimore, MD; New London, CT; Africatown, AL; New York, NY; and architects for the new museum in Charleston, SC, in planning for markers. The target year for most is 2022.
We are pleased to announce that both Florida and New Jersey have completed the installation of markers at all their documented arrival locations. With your continued support all things are possible. For additional information, please visit our recently redesigned website: www.middlepassageproject.org