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

Bubbling to the Surface – Coincidence?

Summer is cooling into recent memory, but an article in the New York Times Magazine by historian Douglas Egerton provided important background information on Emmanuel AME Church in North Charleston, SC, where nine people were murdered almost three months ago. This church’s history includes Denmark Vesey and the killing of SC state representative Reverend Benjamin Randolph during Reconstruction – both of whom challenged the status quo of slavery and white oppression, 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

Reality Check

2013 may eventually be described as the time of “Great Awakening.” Many people in the United States, especially people of color, have settled into a comfort zone. The second election of President Obama was a national accomplishment – a milestone – and the road ahead was expected to be not so bumpy. Months after Mr. Obama’s second term began, however, the US Supreme Court declared portions of the 1965 Voting Read More

A New Year: Creating a More Perfect Union

This is the beginning. Always we start with hopes for a better year than the last. That is natural even in the face of frequently disappointing reality. In 2013 we will, as our ancestors have done in previous generations, work harder to view the glass as half full rather than half empty. It is, in fact, easy to do that when history is part of our assessment of the present. Read More

Hope: The Days After

According to a Christian writer, the path to salvation requires faith, hope, and charity. He singles out charity as the greatest of the three. As we review the history of this hemisphere there is sufficient evidence to challenge that. In order to continue to invest and believe in a better tomorrow the underlying virtue may be hope, even before belief. This is written only days after the massacre of children 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