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


This week is so deeply personal for me that I am departing from our usual format on the blog postings. We think that not often in a lifetime is there an opportunity to be a part of something that we know is bigger than our individual self and immediate communities, but of course that is not true. There is the commitment to another person in a partnership, there is the Read More

Source Documents for Blog Visitors, February 2012

This project is committed to getting out information to those who are interested. We pledged to provide readers quarterly with materials that we base the posts upon, so here are the second quarter’s materials as promised by category with annotation. Articles: African Burial Ground Project: paradigm for cooperation? by Michael Blakey (Museum International, UNESCO, 2010). Professor Blakey is on our project’s advisory board and worked continuously on the Manhattan African Burial Ground Project. Read More

The Descendant Community

Over centuries, increasing sensitivity to the history of all peoples has been developing. A major example of this is that humanitarians now urge implicit respect for different cultures and beliefs. None of these efforts is more important than protecting and preserving sacred ancestral burial sites and the remains they contain. Recently, the discovery of an African burial ground in Lower Manhattan was a particularly important cultural event. The burial ground 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