African Presence in New Hampshire

This post continues our Wednesday series that highlights historic Middle Passage/UNESCO Site of Memory markers that have been installed and those locations where a remembrance ceremony was held since MPCPMP incorporated 9 years ago. MPCPMP is/was involved in the planning for the installation of most of these markers (indicated by an * next to the state name), and other organizations are/were responsible for some. New Hampshire African presence in the Read More

African Presence in Texas

This post continues our Wednesday series that highlights historic Middle Passage/UNESCO Site of Memory markers that have been installed and those locations where a remembrance ceremony was held since MPCPMP incorporated 9 years ago. MPCPMP is/was involved in the planning for the installation of most of these markers (indicated by an * next to the state name), and other organizations are/were responsible for some. Texas* The earliest known person of Read More

Trace

Periodically we respond or address issues that surface from our reading. Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape is a recently published work by Mount Holyoke earth science professor Lauret Savoy that merits attention. Her writing is lyrical and thought-provoking. Geographical landscapes and language related to memory and history are her references as she places those living in the present in a broader historical context. Even the meaning of Read More

Chipping Away

We have reached the final month of another year. For the past four years, ours has been a small attempt to redefine and expand the narrative of US American history to include Africans and their descendants as principal and crucial agents in the country’s creation. At times, many in fact, this work has been difficult. MPCPMP repeatedly has found itself in the position of explaining and justifying our mission to people Read More

Fantasy

If I am not who you say I am then you are not who you think you are. Whenever observance for July 4th approaches, historical reflection is appropriate. This year, 2015, has been a time when chickens came home to roost. The racism and prejudice fostered in this nation for centuries have triggered events that we Americans are confronting and hopefully have the will to change. Recently, on the suggestion Read More

Symbolic Images

Among people who are part of the Western Hemisphere’s African Diaspora there are certain images that trigger a gut response – the Door of No  Return is one. Viewing a framed image of the ocean, many of us require no description or explanation. In some way we simply know, by instinct almost, that the image is a human memory of separation, departure, loss, immense suffering and sorrow. A raised fist Read More

The Whole Truth: A Missed Opportunity

History is as much about what is omitted as what is included. This was seen recently, when Professor Henry Louis Gates and Ben Affleck faced a quandary and by all apparent measures failed to present a complete story. On Sunday, April 19, 2015, news broke that actor Ben Affleck requested a portion of his family’s story not be revealed in the PBS series, Finding Your Roots, aired in 2014. He asked that Read More

Why the Middle Passage?

Many people have questioned the Middle Passage as the focal point of the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project (MPCPMP). Why choose this as a defining point of history related to Africans and their descendants? We are often asked why not start in Africa? There are three reasons: All people who were captives from the African Continent had to endure the Middle Passage to arrive in Europe or the Read More

Second Burial

Among several West African ethnic people, death does not immediately entitle a person the status of ancestor. Traditionally there is a space of time between physical burial, which is quick, and the ceremonial burial that requires an established ritual, after which an individual joins or becomes an ancestor to the community. Among the Igbo, even issues surrounding inheritance and property cannot be settled until the elaborate second burial is completed. Read More

Remembering Ancestors

For the first time in three years Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project has not scheduled a public remembrance ceremony for August 23rd. It feels strange. This year each person is on an individual, perhaps private, path of remembrance. The day remains the same: The International Day of Remembrance of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Its Abolition as declared by the United Nations. There are a number of activities Read More