Periodically we respond or address issues that surface from our reading. Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape is a recently published work by Mount Holyoke earth science professor Lauret Savoy that merits attention. Her writing is lyrical and thought-provoking. Geographical landscapes and language related to memory and history are her references as she places those living in the present in a broader historical context. Even the meaning of 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

Symbolic Images

Among people who are part of the Western Hemisphere’s African Diaspora there are certain images that trigger a gut response – the Door of No  Return is one. Viewing a framed image of the ocean, many of us require no description or explanation. In some way we simply know, by instinct almost, that the image is a human memory of separation, departure, loss, immense suffering and sorrow. A raised fist Read More

The Whole Truth: A Missed Opportunity

History is as much about what is omitted as what is included. This was seen recently, when Professor Henry Louis Gates and Ben Affleck faced a quandary and by all apparent measures failed to present a complete story. On Sunday, April 19, 2015, news broke that actor Ben Affleck requested a portion of his family’s story not be revealed in the PBS series, Finding Your Roots, aired in 2014. He asked that Read More

Perpetuating Lies

In some fashion we all are guilty of perpetuating lies and rationalizing omissions. Sometimes following the politically correct advice of, “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all,” and in polite company avoiding race, religion, and people’s mothers effectively eliminates the possibility of accurate historical presentation and dialog. Recently, MPCPMP was confronted with the choice of the ends justifying the means when we worked to install a historic Read More


Historical narrative is based upon more than documentation. “Facts” are placed within a perspective – the writer’s, the reader’s, the listener’s, and all have points of view. In the same manner that most of the maps of the world have as their focal center the Northern Hemisphere with North America and Europe as physically exaggerated entities, much of history that is presented and learned is positioned with bias. Edward E. Read More

Why the Middle Passage?

Many people have questioned the Middle Passage as the focal point of the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project (MPCPMP). Why choose this as a defining point of history related to Africans and their descendants? We are often asked why not start in Africa? There are three reasons: All people who were captives from the African Continent had to endure the Middle Passage to arrive in Europe or the Read More


As the state with the nation’s longest history of documented African presence, the Project is interested in highlighting Florida’s Middle Passage sites. We intend to honor ancestors and highlight the influence of Africans and their descendants in developing Florida. This is not an easy task since those in power in a region long considered an outpost or frontier, traditionally supported a pattern of smuggling and unregulated business. Those who invested Read More