Reflecting on 2019

This year, as the nation attempts to address the history and experiences of Americans of African descent, the focus has been primarily on healing and commemoration. On June 19th, there was a call for a national day of healing and drumming, a scheduled Congressional hearing on reparations, and a rally to declare Juneteenth a national holiday.  Later this summer, in August, activities are centered on marking the 400th anniversary of Read More

Sensational Headlines

The MPCPMP has taken historical facts and made them into news headlines. Unfortunately, none of these headlines is followed by fake news or fabricated history. Instead, under each sensational headline, we present the truth — a brief historical fact or a description with background. Our intention is to capture the reader’s attention using the format of a tabloid. Headline Captions Two Million Die in Ocean This is the approximate number Read More

Primer on U.S. Slavery for Secondary Teachers

Slavery is often seen as a generally accepted traditional and necessary evil. Images of the happy-go-lucky slave, the enslaved child who was taught to read, or was remembered in the will of an owner survive today because they help many of us to deny the atrocities of human slavery. As I shared the information below with friends and colleagues, many of them asked me to stop. “I don’t want to Read More

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 Read More

Reparations or Civil War

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s protagonist, Ivan Ilyich, was once asked, “What is the most revolutionary way to change society: Is it violent revolution or is it gradual reform?” He gave a careful answer: “Neither. If you want to change society, then you must tell an alternative story, one so persuasive that it sweeps away the old myths and becomes the preferred story, one so inclusive that it gathers all the bits of Read More

End of Year 2016

Four years ago, when this blog started, MPCPMP provided a quarterly reading list for those who were interested in delving deeper into the background of issues related to the posts. Unfortunately, that practice fell by the wayside as demands to implement the mission increased over the years. As an attempt, limited as it is, to revive that practice of suggested readings, the works that had significant impact on our sense Read More

Historical Parallels: Déjà Vu

Post-election texts, emails, and conversations are filled with anger, angst, disbelief, and finger pointing. How did this happen? How did Donald J. Trump — crude and inexperienced, arrogant and uninformed — become the 45th President of the United States? For certain, the analysis of those who never saw this coming, including those we call “pundits,” will continue for decades. “Make America Great Again” means different things to different people. Once Read More

From Independence Day to “We the People”

This is the traditional season to celebrate U.S. patriotism. Many people have been taught the nation’s history in the ringing phrases and the lofty ideals of colonial documents we memorized in parts as school children, for example, from the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal . . .” Following the War of Independence, “We the People” established a Constitution to Read More


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