Any Day Will Do

Recently someone asked why we selected August 23rd as the day the project will remember the transatlantic slave trade and its abolition. I could be flippant and state that it’s arbitrary, any day would do since enslavement occurred 365 days/year, but that is not quite true. We have adopted that day because the international community selected it in honor of the abolition of slavery in the British colonies in 1833. Read More

Random Acts of Kindness

We all have seen the car bumper sticker encouraging us to practice random acts of kindness. Digging deeper into the history of the Middle Passage and the transatlantic slave trade, I uncover numerous acts of humanity. One of the most startling examples involves the sailors of these ships. They had the most direct continuous contact with the captives often suffering and dying at the same rate, and for the same Read More

I Believe I Can Fly

“Free as a bird!” The imagery and association of flying and freedom are prevalent in African American culture. Two things routinely promised among Christian Africans when they got to heaven; wings and shoes. The folktale, “The People Could Fly” and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon are strongly grounded in the theme of flying away, escaping, returning home. As the European slave ships headed towards the coast of Africa, sailors prepared for the Read More

The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo by Tom Feelings (1995)

If you have not read and looked at this book, please take the opportunity to do so. If you have, it may be time to hold and read it again. Mr. Feelings portrays and explains these images that captured the experience of the transatlantic slave trade’s Middle Passage as no other artist has. He also tells the story of how he came to be involved and produced such a powerful Read More

At Least One

Material written earlier for the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project stated that possibly each of us in the African Diaspora is related to at least one person who died during the Middle Passage. Mistakenly I thought that only in Brazil was there a word to describe a kinship that developed between and among people who together on the same ship had survived the Atlantic crossing. Loosely translated it Read More

Human Wastage: The Price of Doing Business

In researching this project, I have started reading The Slave Ship: A Human History by Marcus Rediker (2008). He argues that the African transatlantic slave trade was the first rung in the ladder of global capitalism, or what we know now as a global economy that all governments, many businesses and people are attempting to understand, modify or control. One sentence in the introduction struck a chord because it directly relates to Read More

Brown Trucks

In many ways there are brown trucks everywhere. So many events around the world reinforce our efforts to remember ancestors who suffered the transatlantic slave trade. On August 23, 2011 (The International Day of Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition) the UN made a final formal call for the design of the monument to be installed at the UN to memorialize the trade’s horrors, and Irina Bakova who Read More

The Project Begins

After 25 years the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project has gone from a dream to reality! The project formally honors, remembers and brings closure to the millions of Africans who died during the Middle Passage to North, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Europe during the Atlantic slave trade. It repairs the circle of living and ancestors that has been broken for more than five hundred years. Personally, I believe each of Read More