The Philadelphia Middle Passage Ceremony and Port Marker Project, under the leadership of Ms. Denise Valentine, held its first ancestral remembrance ceremony and cultural heritage day at the Independence Seaport Museum and on the waterfront. The morning ceremony for African ancestors consisted of Akan and Yoruba traditional libations, dancing, drumming, a choral performance, speeches, and rose petal offerings by the community at the pier.

Among the activities were a fund-raising luncheon with guest of honor Sonia Sanchez, a viewing of the just-released film, Toussaint L’Ouverture, an open mic session, and a closing ceremony with storytellers. Complementing this day was the current exhibit at the Independence Seaport Museum – Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River. In total, more than four hundred people attended. The focus now is to make this an annual event and raise money for a historical marker in the city to make people aware of Philadelphia’s role as a Middle Passage port for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

For more on this ceremony, including pictures and video, see our Facebook page as well as the Philadelphia Ceremony website and Twitter account.