American Histories

In the last post of 2012 and on this first day of Kwanza we encourage people to talk with elders, especially those in the family. What may be recorded and remembered will probably provide another historical viewpoint. For example, December 13th in the official US story is the day that George Washington died, first president of the republic and one of the founding fathers. For one family, however, it marks the Read More

It’s Like Having No Navel

In Toni Morrison’s novel Song of Solomon, one character, Milkman’s aunt Pilate, is described as having no navel, no evidence of connection with a progenitor, no root. That was always an unimaginable, impossible image. It grates against all that we know to be human and natural. She went from place to place with a box pierced into her ear containing a clue of the past and  also carried a sack 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

Personal Stories of Captured Africans

In a previous post, The Descendant Community, November 16, 2011 the role of oral history in formal scholarship was acknowledged. Frequently first hand accounts and family stories make an event or experience not only more powerful, but also personal in a manner that research text does not. This project is dedicated to remembering ancestors, uncovering and listening to people who usually are forgotten. They seldom have the opportunity to tell 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