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

Black Enslavement and Emancipation – How Long

In an address given on August 23, 2015, to an audience gathered at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts, for an ancestral remembrance ceremony to commemorate enslaved Africans, Massachusetts State Representative Byron Rushing made a remark that struck a chord – that sanctioned enslavement existed in the United States over a longer period than there has been emancipation. In his speech, Rushing marked 1619 as the starting point, but to be Read More


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

Protest, Image, Black Struggle and Legacy

All black progress in the United States has begun with confrontation and resistance. This is a basic fact of American life and the only way to understand the current protest focused on police violence. As the black abolitionist Frederick Douglass put it in 1857, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress….  Power concedes nothing without demand.” Abraham Lincoln reluctantly abolished southern slavery to pressure the Confederacy at the Read More

Here We Go Again

Over Thanksgiving weekend in Jacksonville, Florida, Jordan Russell Davis, a seventeen year old black male, was shot by Michael David Dunn, a white man. This time the young person’s death was triggered because he and his friends were, allegedly, playing music too loud in a car at a gas station and did not respond to Dunn’s request to turn it down. Since the incident, with no supporting evidence from witnesses 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

Now or Never

Recently, during a conversation about the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project, someone stated that we must move as quickly as possible to conduct memorial services for our ancestors and place markers at Middle Passage port sites, or their relevance will be lost for future generations. In 2013, many states will mark the 150th year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, which President Abraham Lincoln signed, legally releasing Read More

Source Documents for Blog Posts (May-August, 2012)

Text: A Forgotten History: The Slave Trade and Slavery in New England, Choices for the 21st Century Education Program, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, (2008). This work provides an overview of enslavement and the human trade of Africans in New England from the colonial period through the Revolutionary War. Based on primary sources and quotes it is an ideal teaching tool for instructors and students with an interest Read More

Strong People: The Evolution of Anti-Slavery and Emancipation

Enslavement has been called the “peculiar institution.” As a practice that is as old as mankind, its very longevity was an argument supporting continued acceptance. We realize that enslavement is based upon the exercise of power, and everything else is secondary. On the other hand, during the 17th and 18th Centuries, a body of thought called “The Enlightenment” emerged and advocated for equality, liberty, justice and freedom. Initially applied selectively Read More

The Black Vote: Old Wine, New Bottles – More than a Vote for President

Last week the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced that it is currently fighting suppression of the African American vote in this year’s Presidential election.  The NAACP and other groups have renewed the struggle for the right to vote, pointing out that some states are effectively restricting access to the voting booth for likely Black voters and the poor in a number of ways. Readers of this Read More