African Presence in South Carolina

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. South Carolina* Although people often date 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

Birth of a Nation: Another Creation Angle

From time to time those of us working with the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project (MPCPMP) find ourselves re-emphasizing several points about U.S. history as the country addresses the day’s pertinent issues. These themes bear repeating: The nation’s “Creation Story” normally taught in schools is incomplete and often inaccurate. In order to understand what we are presently experiencing in our society, citizens must know the details of birthing 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

Florida

As the state with the nation’s longest history of documented African presence, the Project is interested in highlighting Florida’s Middle Passage sites. We intend to honor ancestors and highlight the influence of Africans and their descendants in developing Florida. This is not an easy task since those in power in a region long considered an outpost or frontier, traditionally supported a pattern of smuggling and unregulated business. Those who invested Read More

Separate and Unequal: The Nation’s Story

In the 21st century we are witnessing the unintended consequences of national and local history traditionally presented over centuries from limited points of view. Many of the heroes and sheroes are almost mythological or reflect only partial facts; others, because they do not conform to the accepted standard, have been maligned or eliminated completely from the narrative. With the establishment of ethnic studies in our institutions of higher learning, a Read More

Are We Dreamers?

Over the past two weeks the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project has been involved in discussions with communities in Florida to plan remembrance ceremonies for ancestors, in a workshop in southwest Georgia where African Americans were encouraged to value their history and family artifacts, and in reading Dreaming Up America, by Russell Banks. All these activities are related. In his book, Banks states that the American (US) ethos Read More

Transcending Race

Anyone who is able to see the exhibit on race now touring the country should do so. The information is posted in the Upcoming Event section of: www.middlepassageproject.org. Mulling over the videos and interviews of people who participated in the exhibit, one phrase struck a chord; it has been repeated a lot since President Obama was elected in 2008. The idea that this country should “transcend race” has been offered Read More

The Diggers

Over centuries throughout the Diaspora, the contributions of Africans and their descendants have not been acknowledged or documented. One of the technological wonders of this hemisphere and the world was created by the physical labor of young black men during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In this post they are honored and remembered for how they changed our world.   THE DIGGERS About a quarter century ago, Roman Read More

The First and the Forced

Over the last two weeks, the issues of law and race surfaced while board members were traveling in the Deep South (Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi). Previously these states were frontier regions, territories exchanged frequently among European nations, and heavily populated by Native peoples and Africans. To this day, their histories and even current conditions are based on race relations over centuries. On an estate in Albany, Georgia, once the largest Read More