MPCPMP brings together many individuals who work on three distinct boards to facilitate Project activities.

Picture of Ann Cobb

Ann C. Cobb, Executive Director, serves as a communication specialist, editing and preparing press releases, grant proposals, correspondence and blog posts. Cobb is a retired professor of English composition and literature in the Department of Humanities at Coppin State University, Baltimore, MD. Alongside the Chair of the Executive Board of Directors, she has organized Middle Passage commemorative ceremonies and marker installations for African ancestors.

Personal Statement: I was part of Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project many, many years ago, when it was only an idea, an intention . . . when it didn’t even have a name.  Back then, I promised my sister, Ann Chinn, that once I retired I would help her with the work of honoring our African ancestors.  Even though I wasn’t quite sure how this idea would take shape or what it would entail, I was committed.  During the years that followed, my awareness of our African ancestors and the importance of honoring them continued to grow.  Each day, I realized a little more clearly the role the ancestors play in my life, the lives of my children and grandchildren, my family, and my community . . . how since the beginning of time they have moved in and out of this dimension, moving my blood line and the blood lines of my people forward, guiding us, opening doors for us, intervening on our behalf . . . strong, enduring, constant, protective, patient, generous, forgiving, brave, awesome.  As my understanding of their presence as a real and powerful energy in my life has evolved, I have become aware of the depth of my gratitude and recognize the importance of giving thanks, serving, and honoring them.

In 2012, after the Project had incorporated in 2011 and I had retired, I accepted my position on the Executive Board, and since then there has been no turning back.  My commitment to the mission of MPCPMP has been quite the journey and has given me the opportunity to work with local communities at Middle Passage arrival sites to acknowledge these children, women, and men and the sacrifices they made for us.  Working with this Project and the descendants of these mighty Africans at these locations across the nation has inspired me to “reach back and draw them into me . . . for at this moment, I am the whole reason they have existed at all” (Cinque).  Everything I do for the Project, even the smallest task, is a form of acknowledgement, a way of serving and giving thanks, a way of asking for their help and their continued presence in our lives.  This is why it is an honor for me to serve on the Executive Board of this organization. Ase.

Ann Chinn

Ann L. Chinn, Program Director, is the Project founder and has worked as an advocate for children and families in Washington, DC, a textile artist, a retailer, organizer of a collective artists’ market, and historian.


Personal Statement: In 1986, when first offered the task, as a birthday gift, to figure out a way to honor Africans who had died in the Middle Passage I had little to no idea of either the what or how I could manage to make this happen. I didn’t realize that much of what I had learned or had done in life would help in fulfilling an all-encompassing commitment to ensure that the circle be unbroken – that connects literally by blood the dead, the living and the unborn.

This Project is a major undertaking and passion in my life. Coming from a family that cherishes history, stories and personalities, I am sure that an effort to expand possibilities for others to learn about their own connections to the past and places comes naturally. Delving into the data has made me increasingly aware of how incomplete the appreciation of Black people’s presence and contributions to building this country is for many of us. Over the past decade we as a group of people have worked with various communities and people along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts; thought seriously about how and why African ancestors must be commemorated; and learned a lot of history and its legacy.

For me, this Project has been truly a gift that now defines me, as clearly as my relationship with family and friends. It has matured and developed a uniqueness that highlights a shared experience, the Middle Passage. Our particular process of approaching specific areas to acknowledge their history and to encourage ancestral remembrance ceremonies and marker installations has altered my perspective on race, class, culture, national identity and responsibility.


C. Lynn Mcnair, Chair currently serves as Chief Advancement Officer at the Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC. McNair is on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national policy and advocacy organization working to ensure that all at-risk middle and high school students receive the support they need to meet challenging academic standards, graduate from high school and college, and develop the necessary skills and capacity to become productive citizens in the global economy. Previously, Lynn served in leadership roles at the Internet Society, the Salzburg Global Seminar, the American Association of University Women, and the National Governors Association.

Personal Statement: Ever since I was a little girl growing up near the Chesapeake Bay on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I wondered how so many people who look like me made the Shore their home. Middle Passages has opened my eyes to how we got here and our importance to the thriving economy from which so few of us benefited.

To mark the moment our ancestors stepped foot on these shores is an important historical one. It is an honor to be a part of this project and to have in my heart the challenges we faced as a people taken from our homes in Africa and made to be a part of a bewildering land and people who never thought of us as humans.

Byron C. Marshall, Treasurer, has over 35 years of executive-level leadership and management experience in the public, non-profit and private sectors. He is skilled in budgeting and strategic planning, program development and management, public safety, economic development, project implementation, conflict resolution, and community engagement. He is also considered a competent, visionary, and innovative administrator whose calm demeanor belies a fierce passion for developing effective, responsive organizations that deliver services equitably.

Personal Statement: I grew up in a household where the history and culture of Black people were passions of my parents — and became one of mine. I majored in US history as an undergraduate, with the good fortune to take several classes from a professor, Dr. Otey Scruggs, who guided my readings and helped me to translate and interpret the role and impact of Black folks on that history. He helped me to understand that history is written from the perspective of the victors and that I needed to learn all the facets of that history — and try to change the narrative about the role of enslaved African people in it.

I met Ann Chinn in 1984 when we both worked for the DC Government; she is brilliant, hardworking, fearless, artistic, and passionate about making a difference in the condition of Black people. We became lifelong friends over the next four decades, and over the years, she, her husband, author Charlie Cobb, and I have talked about history, politics, culture, genealogy, and life. In 2011 Ann told me about the plan to focus her time on the Project, and over the last decade, I have tried to support her efforts, beginning with attending the marker dedication in Yorktown, VA. — where I met Ann Cobb.

Last year when they asked to consider joining the Board of MPCPMP, I enthusiastically agreed. It’s a perfect way to bring together my interests and skills and employ the advice Dr. Scruggs gave so long ago — to help change the narrative about the history of the US by learning more about and then sharing the impact of enslaved Africans – while working with friends who are like family.

Davette D. Daggett holds a BS degree in Finance and Human Resource Management from Boston College. She has worked as a Financial Consultant and Analyst in multiple industries including Information Technology, Energy, Health Care and Government.  She is an exceptional negotiator and specializes in process improvements and systems implementations. She is passionate about giving back through mentoring, promoting diversity, and supporting educational initiatives. Davette is of Egyptian and African American heritage and grew up in Washington DC and currently resides in Houston, TX. She is the proud parent of a son who is studying informatics at the University of Texas in Austin.

Personal Statement: I have joined the MPCPMP because I believe in its mission to educate and keep the memories alive of the 2 million Africans who died during the Transatlantic human trade and the 10 million that survived. I have watched this project since the start in 2011 and have learned so much. I believe the marker installations and events at port sites provide a tangible legacy for future generations. The hard work that has taken place to organize and commemorate each site shows a community partnership and ultimately its global impact on world history. As the project continues to evolve, we have made our mark on truth telling and history

William H. Hamilton, Jr., is a retired associate professor of English and a former journalist. He assists in communication tasks, blog posts, and photographs. Distant Shore, the symbol of the Middle Passage in our promotions and publications, is his work. “I am proud of the photograph taken at sunrise on the Atlantic Coast facing eastward that is now associated with this Project. We might visualize the African Continent beyond the horizon, and that is hopeful to me.”


Personal Statement: I have been a Director on the Executive Board of the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project since its inception in 2011 and served as Secretary through 2022. In addition, I have also taken photographs at commemorative ceremonies and been part of promoting our activities at many of the seaports where we organize local support.

I am particularly honored to work to commemorate the lives of ancestors who died during the Middle Passage and their descendants who share that legacy. My small contributions to the text of MPCPMP blogs about the issues that still face Africans in America and how those issues derive from our shared history are important to me. Black Lives Matter; always have, always will.

This Project is important to me because my training and experience as a journalist and as a teacher is now being put to great use in honoring and commemorating my own ancestors, known and unknown. I continue to learn about my culture and heritage and to share those things, all that through this Project. This is a great historical moment. This is my own great benefit.

Joan Hubert is a Retired Texas Public School Music Instructor; Former Adjunct Professor of Music at Texas Southern University. Founder/Artistic Director of Spirit of Sankofa Chorale and Southeast Texas Middle Passage Committee. My personal objective is to make sure that all people know of the greatness of a people who have been on this Earth from the very beginning of time.

Personal Statement: I have lived the majority of my life completely absorbed in the Classical Music World, Negro Spirituals and Drama, until I traveled to Northeast Africa and to West Africa.  Experiencing first hand, the beauty and magnificence of the African Continent, and its enterprising and awesome people, changed my whole perspective on life and made me begin to study my own Ancestral background and incorporate it into my professional life. I have endeavored to spread my personal mantra – Knowing Your History, Telling The Story, wherever I go.  I weave historical facts and other Family stories into my performances and whenever possible, I try to wear authentic dress to fit the story of the people.  One of my most cherished accomplishments was when I proposed having a Middle Passage Marker in Galveston, Texas.  It stands today to remind all who walk by, that there were captured Africans who trod upon the soil of this continent and persevered to make great accomplishments that helped to build a marvelous nation

I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Ann Chinn and Bill Hamilton who introduced me to an outstanding organization filled with brilliant people who spend their lives documenting the very thing that is so intriguing to me – MPCPMP.  I am at last involved in that most fascinating world of History and the study of our Ancestors. I hope that my own Ancestors will be proud of my strides to shed light and truth on an almost forgotten time in the history of the world.

Bonnie R. Politz is a Youth and Community Strategy Consultant working on a variety of domestic and global projects. She has an extensive career focused on ensuring the positive and healthy development of children and youth who grow up in poor and under-served communities in Washington, D.C. across the U.S. and around the globe.   Through her work in the public and non-profit sectors, as well as philanthropy, Ms. Politz provides leadership within and across sectors at the local, state, regional and national levels to promote the design and implementation of strategic approaches to child and youth success.

Personal Statement: I am a white, Jewish woman who had the privilege of growing up in Washington, D.C. and being a minority during my public school days and throughout my adult life.  I have been in work and daily life situations with majority African American friends and colleagues where I have listened and learned about histories and experiences that had never been shared or taught to me.

My professional life has been centered on improving the lives of children, youth and families through public policy reform and program design.  

Being formally connected with The Middle Passages Ceremonies and Port Markers Project allows me to continue my listening and learning which, I believe, makes me a more informed citizen of this country and the world.   Hopefully, it also allows me the opportunity to help expand meaningful roles of young people in all aspects of MPCPMP and be involved as the organization considers strategic program and donor options. 


  • Charles E. Cobb, Jr., Chair, Author and Journalist
  • Amadou Mahtar Ba, Chief Executive, African Media Initiative; Chair, AllAfrica Media, Inc.
  • Teresa Doke, Proprietor, Global Resource Consultants
  • Faye V. Harrison, Professor of African American Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Regina Hartfield, Founder, Souls at Sea
  • Edith “Cookie” Heard is a community and political leader as well as an activist based in Williamsburg, VA.
  • John W. Franklin, Former Director of Partnerships and International Programs, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution
  • Joseph W. Jenkins, Human Resource and Organizational Consultant
  • Vivian Johnson, Retired Professor of Education, Boston University
  • Emily MN Kugler, Assistant Professor of English, Howard University
  • Karen J. Malachi, Attorney, Golden & Malachi, LLC
  • Gladys Mitchell-Reed, Ethicist
  • Donald C. Moragne, Managing Principal, Success Zone, Inc.; Executive Director of Finance, Accession International
  • Jeanne Pirtle, Director of Educational Programs and Partnerships, Historic Sotterley
  • Benetta M. Standly, Principal, Standly Solutions Consulting
  • Corey D. B. Walker, Wake Forest, Professor in the Humanities & Founding Director of the Africana/African American Studies Progra
  • Joanne M. Braxton, (served 2011-2012), Professor Emeritus, William and Mary; leading scholar of African American literature and culture; David Larson Fellow in Spirituality and Health at the Library of Congress John W. Kluge Center; President of The Braxton Institute for Sustainability, Resiliency and Joy.
  • Rudy Lombard, PhD., deceased – Writer and Social Activist
  • Bandele McQueen, (served 2011-2013), Senior Advisor, McKenna Long and Aldridge
  • Niani Omotesa, deceased – Managing Partner, The Left Field Marketing


  • Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Chair, Civil Rights Pioneer and Journalist, who has chronicled freedom movements in the United States and Africa
  • Michael Blakey, NEH Professor of Anthropology; Professor of American Studies; Founding Director of the Institute for Historical Biology, College of William and Mary
  • David Eltis, Professor Emeritus, Emory University
  • Shirikiana Gerima, Filmographer
  • Bernice Johnson Reagon, Composer; Songtalker; Professor Emerita of History, American University; Curator Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution
  • Vincent Harding, deceased – Professor Emeritus of Religion and Social Transformation, Iliff School of Theology; Founder, Veterans of Hope Project; Distinguished Professor of African American Religion, Drew University
  • J. Fletcher Robinson. M.D., deceased – Pan African Advisor
  • Randall Robinson, deceased – Author; Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law; Founder of TransAfrica Forum

Nick Huster, Web Master & Consultant, is an arts administrator and musician living in New Orleans, LA. With a Master’s Degree from University of New Orleans, Nick currently full-times as the National Programs Associate at the National Performance Network.


Gail Witcher, Bookkeeper